Last month, Facebook introduced a 360-degree camera rig at its developer conference, which it won't be selling, but it did make the plans available for anyone who was interested in building it themselves. Although Facebook isn't looking to get into the hardware business by producing and selling a 360-degree camera, it does want to fully support 360-degree content, which is part of the reason why it made the schematics available for the machine, because they want creators to build it and create more content for the platform. Today, Facebook has announced that they will be introducing the support for 360-degree photos into the news feed, giving a little bit more of the power to create to users.
While 360-degree videos have been available in the news feed for a while now, the inclusion of 360-degree photos, which should look similar to Google's Photospheres within the Street View app, shows that Facebook is aiming to be as competitive as possible in every area of online media. The social network company notes that the ability for users to upload 360-degree photos will roll out in the next few weeks and that the capability will be accessible from both the Facebook mobile apps as well as on the web interface. Whether or not they make it possible to upload them from the mobile website wasn't specified, but chances are the web compatibility includes this too.
While Facebook does want to offer more support for 360-degree content to engage users through the site and the app, it's also placing support for the photos within the service as a way to offer more live-action photography on the Gear VR and Rift headsets, both of which are powered by Oculus. Facebook mentions that both headsets will be able to view the 360-degree photos that are uploaded to Facebook as well. The new support will allow users to upload 360-degree photos to Facebook through various means, including using dedicated 360-degree camera hardware, third-party applications, or using smartphone cameras which support 360-degree photos, which many Android phones can do using the Google Camera app so long as it's installed on their device.