Talking tech since 2003

Google’s Street View cars can’t go everywhere, and the company doesn’t seem to have many Street View Trekker backpacks to go around. Fortunately, for standing still and capturing a 360-degree view of your surroundings, you only need an Android 4.2 device with a rear camera. And now those “photo spheres” you take with that device can be shared with the world through a new Google Maps product called Views.

google-viewsViews is both a public way to share the photo spheres you’ve captured as well as a private way to organize them. Adding a photo sphere is pretty easy — just click the blue camera icon at the top of the screen and select a photo sphere from your Google+ automatic uploads. If you’re on your Android device, Google also states that you’ll be able to share a photo sphere straight to Google Maps, which will add it as a View.

You can check out your own views, too. Each user has a personal Views page that collects all of the photo spheres they’ve uploaded and added to Views. That page can be accessed by visiting the Views site and clicking your name at the top of the screen. I could see this becoming a more immersive way to revisit vacation spots and sentimental locations than a simple photo, though taking a photo sphere isn’t the quick pull, point and shoot process that we’re used to with normal pictures, so it won’t work for every situation.

And it especially won’t work if you’re on any platform other than Android. Apologies to those on iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Ubuntu OS, FireFox OS and whatever else is out there or on the way — your photo spheres are no good unless they come from Android 4.2. If you’re dead set on keeping that iPhone but you want the ability to take photo spheres that can be uploaded to Google Maps Views, perhaps investing in that $229 Nexus 7 isn’t a bad idea.

If you’ve checked out Views or have uploaded some photo spheres of your own to the service, we’d love to get your thoughts and see some of your work. Leave us a comment below or share a link to your uploaded Views.

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