At Google I/O 2015 one of the key talking points of the main keynote was Google's entry in the virtual reality space. More specifically, they announced Jump, which was Google's hardware and software combination designed for creating 360-degree virtual reality videos. The search giant really showed that it means business when it comes to virtual reality by partnering with GoPro to design a 360-degree camera. Said camera rig includes an impressive 16 GoPro cameras all around it for capturing some impressive video.
Today, Google has made their first virtual reality announcement outside of I/O on their product forums. Here they announced that the company will be releasing an entirely new, standalone app that is focused around photo spheres. It will be a Street View app that will be designed to allow users to submit 360-degree photo spheres of places not only using their smartphones, but 360-degree camera rigs as well. At first Google says that the new app will support two such rigs, the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam. Don't worry if you want to use your camera rig that is not supported, Google says that support will be expanding soon after the new app's release.
Alongside the new Street View app will also come some significant changes to Google Maps Business View. These changes will include Google making it a bit easier to become one of its certified photographers for taking pictures of local businesses. Also, Google Maps Business View itself will be renamed to 'Street View | Trusted.' There will also be some policy changes made as far as Google Maps Business View goes, but no details were given on those changes. The new Street View app will be available sometime in August on both Android and iOS. On iOS the dedicated Photo Sphere Camera app will be replaced by this app. Google says that once this new app is released, all of your existing Maps-approved photos, photo spheres, and constellations will still be visible via the Google Maps website. So, essentially, don't worry about losing anything once the Street View app is released and changes some things up.