Google today is showing off a new open-source Android Experiment app called Sprayscape that makes it possible to quickly craft, view, and share 360-degree photo spheres.
Launched last year, Android Experiments are a way for third-party developers to demonstrate what’s possible on devices running Android, whether they’re phones, tablets, or watches.
Sprayscape, from the Google Creative Lab, relies heavily on a phone or tablet’s gyroscope, Google senior designer Glenn Cochon wrote in a blog post. It’s reminiscent of the Cardboard Camera app that Google introduced last year, but spheres look different from panoramas. One thing that the two apps do have in common is that you can view the results in a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset. (This is why Google calls the app VR-ish.) If you’re on desktop, you can go to a given image’s URL in a web browser and hold down the mouse to rotate it. Images are backed up in your Google Drive, and it’s easy to bring up previously generated images in the app.
With Sprayscape, you can be more selective about what’s in your final image. You hold down a finger on the display to capture an oval-shaped blob of whatever is in front of your phone’s rear camera. Then you can move and capture more — and do so again and again, as much as you’d like. If you move to a different place, you can augment your existing photo sphere with what’s around you in the new place. All the while, you can choose to keep the camera’s flash on or off, and you can adjust the size of the blob.
This might not be what all the cool kids are doing, but it does point to a new type of image that a smartphone can capture. It could just be a novelty, or it could serve as inspiration for app developers or, really, anyone else who gives it a try.