It is now possible for Android device users to add their own panorama imagery to Google Street View. The move effectively makes the crowd sourcing of Street View data possible, and could see the service expand rapidly.
The new functionality is available to users with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, or greater. It requires access to Photo Spheres, which is available through the stock camera app, most commonly available on Nexus devices.
Photo Spheres has also appeared on Google Play Edition devices, which are on sale in America. These are standardised versions of popular phones – like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 – which come with a stock version of Android as opposed to a manufacturer-customised edition.
Thanks to Google Play Edition phones it is possible to use Photo Spheres even on some devices which do not officially support the feature.
The .apk file from some Google Play Edition phones has leaked onto the internet, and many users are reporting that it works fully on a wide range of devices.
With Google having already captured imagery of the road networks in many countries around the world, it is hoping that the new feature will help extend the variety of content available on Street View.
Google has already added some popular buildings, such as the Science Museum, in London. The company hopes that allowing users to add their own imagery will result in everything from small businesses to beauty spots becoming increasingly available on the service.
The ability to add imagery to Street View has also been made available to anyone with a digital SLR, albeit with more manual processing and editing required.
[via Google Maps blog]