Is Virtual Reality another fad?

360Photography, also known as Virtual reality (VR) photography, has made a major footprint on digital culture in the last few years, and was one of 2016’s biggest new advancements in the way we create and consume media content.

The products being manufactured to supply this hot new demand have been plentiful, with 360 cameras , camera equipment, VR viewers and headsets, and other products and services leading the way as pioneering profiteers from this fresh advancement in common technology.

As well as manufacturers of products, different websites and Internet platforms are finding their own unique ways of warming up to 360 photography, and many institutions are making bold new attempts in their application of virtual reality techniques.

The media created through these means is profoundly more interactive than two dimensional images, and the wild potential for 360 images and videos is exciting in the way that it is often very accessible; even though the form is very complex and sophisticated, even independent bloggers and lo-fi content creators can engage with this totally dynamic new aspect of coloring the web.

Companies betting big on VR

Many of these organizations are striving to make the accessibility of 360 photography content as simple as text or image based content; even though the idea is so new at the moment, it isconceivable to imagine that VR media content will have established itself as a mainstay fixture of the web sooner rather than later.

I am excited by the fact that interacting with 360 media could very well be on its way to being enjoyed by anybody with a basic understanding and grasp on the basic operations of using a web browser– which, in this day and age, is basically everyone. The smooth transition to mobile devices like smartphones also adds another interesting element to the movement, with products like Google Cardboard being designed to facilitate virtual reality experiences.

Here, I have compiled a list of some of the main websites that are using 360 photography, in one way or another, and will shed some light upon the ways in which they have begun to utilize the technology.

Facebook 360

It seems natural to address Facebook’s interplay with virtual reality first, as Zuckerberg’s social media platform seems to be well on its way to earning the distinction of being the center of the internet universe. Facebook has worked to engineer a relatively simple, slick approach to the implementation of 360 photos and videos.

Facebook’s 360 media features are specifically compatible with iOS, Android, Google Street View, and more. Facebook also purchased Oculus, a burgeoning virtual reality startup, for more than two billion dollars, which has added substantially to the technology’s legitimacy, and its the level of its significance on the web. This purchase fueled the fire for many other tech giants to step up their investment in virtual reality.

Facebook has also began an initiative to support and encourage its users to create original content, and share their own photos and videos rather than sharing posts from viral pages and sites. The ability to post 360-degree photos on your timeline is one attempt to persuade users to create and share their own posts. At the moment, a 360 photo cannot be taken through Facebook directly, they have purposefully made it very convenient to upload your panorama shots from your directly from mobile device, or to do so with your DSLR and/or 360-degree camera by using a third-party program.

Courtesy of Facebook

Flickr VR

Flickr, the popular website which acts as a hosting platform for images and videos, has designed a specific app for highlighting the 360 shots which are uploaded into their database. Though not as massive as Facebook, Flickr is no industry miniature, and, as it is owned by Yahoo, they have also found a way to prioritize and encourage the continuous growth of 360 photography through their Flickr VR app.

FlickrVR is easy to browse through, and offers an abundance of images and videos for users to enjoy. By using the Samsung Gear VR viewer, which is totally compatible with FlickrVR, you can become immersed in the environments captured in these images and videos. If you lack this equipment, clicking and dragging is also an option. This app, as well as several smaller communities within the forums on Flickr, are devoted to providing a dynamic range of panoramic shots.

Kuula.co

Similar to Flickr, Kuula.co is a comprehensive collection of creative 360-degree images. This platform encourages users to share their work, give each other feedback, and contribute to an impressive gallery of curated images. Kuula.co is often marketed as a platform for artist and photographers to share their work, and is generally a much more community-minded, and small-scale operation, than Flickr; it attracts a slightly less mainstream clientele.

At the time of its inception, Kuula was definitely the first devoted, legitimate site with the purpose of creating a platform to be a home to the wide range of submissions of 360-degree photos and videos that were generated by the rising interest in the field of VR.

Three Sixty

Three sixty is a user friendly viewing site which simply involves dragging and dropping each of your VR photos onto their page to be explored and shared in their own ideal style and dimension. If you own a 360-degree camera, or have the proper technology or apps to transform your DSLR or smartphone into an effective virtual reality capturing device, this is a popular platform.

Theta 360 Gallery

The Ricoh Theta is one of the most popular 360-degree cameras on the market. If you own one of these 360-degree cameras, this is a great community-minded gallery that you should be considering making some contributions to. This is a unique page because it unites the experiences of users of one specific product. It is especially popular for users and enthusiasts of the Ricoh Theta.

Google Photos

If you want to take a look at your images in 360 degrees, Google Photos is highly compatible with programs like Google Cardboard, and services like those offers by the Daydream, which will allow you to explore the virtual reality of the shots you snap or videos you take. Google Photos works as a perfect storage place for your panoramic shots and other 360-degree content, and is fantastically cooperative with the Daydream app if you want to take your virtual reality experience to the next level.

Google photos is a great choice of method if you are planning on viewing your spherical 360-degree photos, panoramas, or virtual reality photos which are complete with sounds and extra depth. Ideal VR photos can be captured with Cardboard camera.

2VR.in

There are not many spherical image hosting locations that make sharing, uploading, and viewing as simple and easy as 2VR.in . Praised for its simplicity and compatibility, 2VR.in works harmoniously within web browsers on Desktop, iOS, and Android.

The service is impressive and effective, and at no point is it necessary to download specific software, plugins, or additions.

WordPress

WordPress has recently decided to add a virtual reality aspect to their site, which is an imperative part of the modernization process that is required when operating such a web-hosting site and remaining relevant. Tim Parry wrote an easy to follow post on how to add 360 photos onto your WordPress site .

WordPress is one of the biggest platforms on the web for professional and independent pages, and the fact that a simple plugin has been created to allow bloggers, small businesses, and users to engage with virtual reality on a convenient basis should do wonders for the future of the platform.

Conclusion

360 photography has arrived, and it is very unlikely that it will be going away anytime soon. Not only are popular digital organizations such as Apple, Facebook, WordPress, and Google making bold movements in their attempts to properly prioritize the presence of 360-degree photo and video content in their repertoire, but entire communities are forming and becoming popular based on the creation and sharing of 360-degree photography; several vibrant collections of

360-degree images, panoramas, and virtual reality material are already in existence, and this part of the culture is only growing.

As time continues to go by, I am so impressed and excited by the amount of progress I see in the world of VR photography. Two movements will soon be combined, as 360-degree videos will soon be fused together with the livestreaming trend to create live, fully explorable content opportunities. 360-degree content is currently a major hit, and landmark progress is being made constantly enough that the history of VR photography is in a state of being continuously rewritten through innovations that, not very long ago, would have surely been considered impossible by many users of digital technology.

The rapid rise of VR photography began as a smartphone craze and has evolved into a full blown industry, with products being made to support VR content creation, through additions to standard DSLRs, 360 cameras, apps, and desktop software. Storage sites, viewers, and communities are being grown every day to support the continuance of VR photography and filmmaking, and the industry around the concept of virtual reality is certainly on its way up rather than down.

It may seem strange to consider now, but it might not be a very long time before people are looking back at standard, stagnant two-dimensional pieces of content as a thing of the past. The amount of worthy and practical applications, both professional and personally, of VR technology certainly to grow with every new advancement and application of the technology to new aspects of digital life and culture.