Now that every new smartphone has a panorama photo setting, my new favorite Google product is Tour Creator, which makes it easy to create interactive photo tours from uploaded 180-degree or 360-degree images.
I made this simple 2-photo tour of Bullhead Gulch Open Space in Lafayette, which is a favorite hangout spot for me and my daughters.
After uploading your panorama photos (one photo per scene), you have the option to add “points of interest,” which can include a title, description, photo, custom icon, and even an audio file narrating the scene. You can add multiple photos/scenes to your Tour and as many points of interest as you like.
It’s fun to dive in with your own concept, but also worth browsing the templates to see other ideas and creative uses of Tour Creator. For example, after the more traditional NYC Skyline tour, my favorite is Photosynthesis, which turns the idea of a panoramic photo on its head.
Tour Creator is powered by Poly, a Google project for creating 3D objects and scenes, which also makes your Tour creations compatible with Expeditions, an app for creating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. Paired with Google Cardboard, or another virtual reality (VR) viewer, and the combined effect of all the tech can be pretty mesmerizing.
Developed by the Google for Education team, Expeditions can also help engage students by creating more interactive and immersive lessons. Once you download the Expeditions app, you can search/browse for existing Tours created by other users, including the American Museum of Natural History and the National Park Service.
If you love using photos to tell stories, Google’s Tour Creator is definitely worth a look. And if you make something cool you’d like to share, just drop a link in the comments below.