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Create FREE virtual tours with Google TourCreator! (See a sample; and see which camera to get)

Create free virtual tours with Google TourCreator
Create free virtual tours with Google TourCreatore

At Google I/O 2018, Google announced the launch of a new free tool for creating virtual tours, called TourCreator!  You can build a tour using your own 360 cameras, or the 360 photos on Street View.

The tours can include points of interest and image overlays, and will be easily shareable.  The key is that TourCreator is simple enough for anyone to use and doesn’t require coding.

Google TourCreator features 360 photos, points of interest, image overlays, and easy sharing
Google TourCreator features 360 photos, points of interest, image overlays, and easy sharing

Here’s a sample virtual tour:

Virtual tours will be hosted on Google Poly.   In the future, virtual tours can be exported to Google Expeditions, Google’s VR teaching tool.  I’m not sure if Google will eventually allow tours to be posted on Street View.

If you’d like to shoot your own 360 photos but don’t have a 360 camera, check out the most affordable good quality 360 camera, the Samsung Gear 360, which takes 30mp photos but is now under $70.  The Gear 360 was designed to work with high-end Samsung phones (Samsung S6 and above) but you can actually use it to take 360 photos with any phone, whether Android or iOS!

The trick is to use the Google Streetview app (available on iOS or Android).  From the Streetview app, you can take a photo with the Gear 360.

1. Turn on the Samsung Gear 360, then hold down the menu button.  You’ll see Gear 360 Manager on the LCD.  Press the menu button twice to switch to “Google Street View.”  Then press the shutter button to confirm.  You’ll see a password appear.
2. On your phone, connect to the new Wi-Fi network “Gear 360_(xx:xx).OSC”  Enter the password shown on the Gear 360’s LCD.
3.  Once your phone is connected, launch the Street View app.
4.  To take a photo, click on the camera button on the lower right corner.
 Photos will be stitched automatically and will appear in your phone’s Camera Roll or Gallery, but you DON’T have to upload them to street view.
If you want an even higher quality camera for virtual tours, check out my video here:

And if you’d like to learn more about virtual tours, please join my Virtual Tour Network on Facebook!

Thanks to Youtube channel 360tips&tricks for bringing this to my attention!

About the author

Mic Ty

4 Comments

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  • Ok. I was so excited about this I was up till 1am getting a tour I had done back in 2000 up onto this simple tours website. A few notes;
    1) It is absolutely the easiest tour maker I have ever used.
    2) You must do this on desktop or laptop, trying to create a tour on mobile directs you to try again on desktop or laptop.
    3) I did mine on in the Chrome browser, however looks like you can do it on IE or Edge as long as you login with your Google ID. However…..
    4) looks like finished tour panos do not work in IE or Edge, just loads the about and title, however the panos themselves are just black areas. Works like a champ on Chrome. Even works on iOS with the Safari browser, although the Google cardboard mode is not available in Safari. (I don’t know if Chrome on iOS would support the cardboard mode…)
    5) Even though my panos are 2000×1000 pixels, exactly 2:1 aspect ratio, there is obvious pinching at the top and bottom nadir. Seems this is just me.. not sure. Maybe it’s the low resolution of my panos.
    6) The order you load each pano is the order they are presented in the finished tour, however you can shift the order around during editing.
    7) There does not seem to be any pano to pano linking, or top-down mini-map ability. The panos are run in a sequence, you design and the order can be revised any time and then the tour re-published, but skipping from living room directly to the back laundry room is not possible, you have to go through the hall, then the kitchen, then the back laundry room.
    8) Hotspots support a single static image per hotspot and supporting text. No audio or video hotspot support so far. Speaking of text…
    9) There are limits to number of words you can use in the descriptions;
    500 words for the main panos
    300 words for each of the hotspots
    Hyperlinks are supported in all text boxes.
    The tour description on the landing page appears to have no limit, least not as I have found yet.
    Jon

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