Facebook’s 360 degree photos: what you need to know
Paul McCartney

Photos have been a mainstay of Facebook for years, and 360 degree videos have been creating wonderment on our news feeds for a while now too.

But now Facebook have launched a new photo feature which allows users to take and upload 360 degree photos.

Launched by a certain Sir Paul McCartney at a gig in Argentina last night, the rocker’s photo joins a portfolio of in-the-round snaps that includes pics from Nasa and The New York Times. And now you can add your own.

See McCartney’s first 360 photo post here

But, as with all technology advances, the news could be a little baffling to some. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is it?

Facebook’s new 360 degree photo service allows users of the social network to take, upload and view other people’s 360 degree cameras.

Think of the 360 videos you often see sitting in your news feed. You know the ones: the ones that cause you start waving your phone around like a loon in public. Only this time they’ll be still imaged.

Why Paul McCartney?

Granted, the news of ol’ Macca launching the service might seem a little perplexing to some, but there’s at least a shred of sense behind it.

McCartney has been a bit obseessed with 360 technology as of late. His current tour One On One carries a 360 theme, he’s released music videos in 360 degrees, and even posted interviews filmed with the technology. Presumably to give users something to look at while the ex-Beatle talks. Presumably the back wall of whatever room he’s in.

Do I need any flashy tech?

Nope. You can use your trusty old smartphone to take 360 degree pictures.

Sure, it’s not as easy as just pointing and clicking (you’ll need to download a separate 360 degree photo app first), but once you have your masterpiece ready, just upload it to Facebook as your normally would any photo and the site will smooth out the rough edges for you.

But what about that 360 camera I just splashed out on?

All is not lost as you can still use that, and to be honest it’ll probably be of a better quality than most smartphones.

Wait, it’s ‘not just a simple as pointing and clicking’?

Well, no. With our experience with 360 degree photos, they can often take a while to create, as separate photos are patchworked over each other to make a cohesive whole.

You’ll often find yourself standing in one spot, pointing your phone in every conceivable direction until the desired effect is created, which can look a bit silly.

And if anyone moves through the shot while you’re taking it you might end up with some very strange effects indeed…

How do I view these photos?

Simple. All you need is a computer or a smartphone.

On phones, tilt your screen as if you were using it to look into a virtual world, and on a desktop, just click and drag. Easy.

Who else is using it?

Well, the aforementioned McCartney, NASA and The New York Times are the first big profile names, but we’re sure we’ll see a flurry of stars take to the format.

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Main image: Getty