In fact, these are “panoramic” pictures, which typically stitch together a series of landscape photos to give a much wider viewing angle.
Facebook’s innovation is to let users view these pictures as if they depicted a fully interactive 360-degree panorama. If you’re looking at the picture on your smartphone or tablet, you can move or tilt the device around to view the photo from different angles. On a desktop or laptop computer, you can scroll from side to side and change your point of view using your mouse cursor.
What is Facebook?
How to create a 360-degree photo
You can buy special cameras which let you take genuine 360-degree pictures. But to take advantage of the new Facebook feature, you don’t need any special pieces of kit: popular smartphones such as the iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy will do the job, as will tablets like the iPad.
The first step is to take a panoramic photograph: on an iPhone, open the camera and choose the “Pano” option (it’s where you can switch between normal photos and video recording). Recent versions of the Samsung Galaxy has an option called “Surround Shot”. With other smartphones, you may need to download a special app.
On the iPhone, you take a panoramic picture by steadily moving the handset in an arc around you as images are recorded.
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Uploading to Facebook
Next you need to get the picture onto your Facebook page, so upload it in the normal way. Provided the panoramic photo has a viewing angle of at least 100 degrees, Facebook will automatically recognise it as a potential 360-degree picture. This means that whenever you or your Facebook friends see it, it will carry a special logo identifying it as such.
Viewing 360-degree photos
When you see a 360-degree photo in your timeline, you can click on it to view it as a full-screen picture. If you’re viewing it on your phone or tablet, you can rotate and tilt your device to see the picture from all possible angles – this will give you a much more interactive and immersive experience than looking at the photo on a desktop or laptop computer.
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