Photo Spheres are 360º panoramic photos that you can create using just your smartphone or DSLR camera. They are a great way to “share the world in 360º”. Unlike normal photos where a single viewpoint is captured, photo spheres allow others to freely look all around them to explore the entire scene.
Here is a Photo Sphere we have take at our Team Hallam offices. Just use your mouse to click and drag the image to get a full panoramic view of our main office area. You can spin the image, and zoom in and out:
How Can Businesses Use Photo Spheres?
Photo Spheres could be perceived only of interest to budding photographers or outdoor enthusiasts, but in fact they can bring a range of benefits to businesses within all sectors. For businesses with brick-and-mortar establishments, it is important that customers are easily able to locate their stores, especially if they are tucked away in a corner or hidden among similar looking buildings.
Photo spheres could also bring great benefit to business operating within the travel industry, allowing business owners to showcase their accommodation and scenic views. Estate agents could use photo spheres to demonstrate their properties. Manufacturing businesses can feature their production lines to showcase their new infrastructure or provide some insight into how their products are made.
Social Sharing of the Photo Spheres
Another great benefit of the Photo Spheres is that they can very easily be shared over Google Plus and Google Maps. This is a great feature since by sharing your Photo Spheres you can engage with your visitors and even create interesting conversations around your spheres in social media.
You can take the Photo Spheres and share them with your Google Plus profile so that people who visit your page will be able to see them.
You can also associate those Photo Spheres with your Google Maps Views account and once they are approved they can appear on Google Maps.
The red dots on the map above are Photo Spheres created by other users and then uploaded on their Google Maps Views accounts. This can be a great opportunity to showcase your business location on Google Maps. Only publicly accessible locations can be featured on Google Maps though so while you cannot showcase the inside of your business you can always share the surroundings of your business.
Embedding a Photo Sphere in Your Website
While you can share your Photo Spheres on Google Plus and Google Maps Views, you can also embed them in your website so that your visitors do not need to leave the page in order to see your Photo Spheres.
Embedding the Photo Spheres is simple. First you will have to visit your Google Maps Views page and open the Photo Sphere that you want to embed in your page. Then you have to click on the share arrow on the right side of the screen, shown in the image below.
Next, all you have to do is add the IFRAME code into the HTML code for your website wherever you want to appear on the page. This can either be in your blog inside a blog post or any other page that the Photo Sphere can provide some extra context.
The benefit of embedding the Photo Sphere inside the pages instead of directing your visitors to external pages is that this way they are more likely to continue browsing your website after looking at the Photo Sphere. If you send them to an external page you increase the chances of losing them.
Creating a Photo Sphere
The process involves turning around with your smartphone taking pictures to make a 3D version of your surroundings. Once you have created your Photo Sphere you can also watch it come to life through Google Cardboard since the cardboard application includes a Photo Sphere viewer!
With those Photo Spheres we wanted to share our lovely office with everyone and give you an idea about where all the magic happens.
Go ahead and try to create Photo Spheres for your business and share them with us!