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Google Maps now lets you create your own navigable, 360-degree Street Views

Google wants people around the world to harness the power of their Android phones to create Street View experiences on Google Maps. The company recently announced that you could now add multiple photo spheres—360-degree panoramic images taken with your Android Phone or DSLR camera—to Street View.

Google already lets you share photo spheres on Google Maps to provide a Street View-like experience. The only difference between a photo sphere and official Street View images is that photo spheres root you to one spot, while Street View lets you move around and navigate to nearby locations on the map. But as of Monday you can connect multiple photo spheres into a complete Street View experience, as you can experience in the Street View below, by Google's Evan Rapoport..

You could use the new feature, for example, to capture nearby scenic views at different times throughout the year. If you wind up taking a vacation in an exotic or hard to reach locale, you could also add multiple panoramic images to Street View. Or maybe you simply want to capture your local town square decked out in Christmas lights.

To get started, you have to upload some photo spheres to Views, Google's online community for 360-degree images. From there, you can use an online tool to select the photo spheres you want to connect into what Google calls constellations.

Google will automatically add your selected photo spheres onto a map with their locations based on map data embedded in the images. It's then up to you to make sure each photo sphere is in the right place and lines up appropriately with the rest of the constellation. You can find complete instructions on Google's help pages.

constellation

Linking 'constellations' is the backbone of the new DIY Street View experience. (Click to enlarge.)

As with Google's other user-generated imagery on Google Maps, photo sphere constellations appear to be supplemental and will not replace official Street View images taken by employees and others working directly with Google.

Users can't, for example, navigate from an official Street View image and into a nearby user-generated constellation. So it looks like most users will have to deliberately seek out your Street View montage or stumble across it when playing around with Google Maps.

Regardless, anyone who wants to share a small corner of their world on Google Maps can now provide a completely customized Street View experience.

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