Apple’s iPhone is the world’s most popular camera, however, many of its unique features don’t have a life beyond the phone itself, such as Live Photos and, to a lesser extent, panoramic photos. Enter Google and Facebook. Helping to unlock the potential of new and existing photos on your iPhone, Google and Facebook just announced new features to make iPhone photos great again.
Google’s Motion Stills
Apple’s Live Photos capture a second and a half before and after you snap a photo. Up until now, enjoying Live Photos has been limited, for the most part, to Apple devices. Now, thanks to a brilliant new app from Google, it’s easier than ever to share Live Photos by converting them into GIFs or video clips.
Developed by Google Research, Motion Stills acts as a virtual camera operator for Live Photos. According to Google Research, the app uses video stabilization technology to freeze the background of images into a still photo or create sweeping cinematic pans. The resulting looping GIFs and movies come alive, and can easily be shared via messaging or on social media.
Here’s a few examples of Live Photos I snapped today with my iPhone, which were easily converted into looping GIFs with the Motion Stills app.
360 Photos on Facebook
In a post on his Facebook wall this past Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg introduced the world to 360 photos. “Today we’re starting to roll out 360 photos worldwide across Facebook,” writes Zuckerberg. “These are similar to 360 videos — you can tilt your phone and feel like you’re actually there. You can also check them out in virtual reality for a fully immersive experience.”
The post says that 360 photos can be taken with a smartphone. “Just take a panorama or use a 360 camera app, then post it to Facebook and we’ll take care of the rest,” writes Zuckerberg.
Considering Facebook spent more than $2 billion on Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset, in March of 2014, I think it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing a lot more 360 and virtual-reality content from Zuckerberg and his social networks in the near future.