Yes, the metaverse is already here and people like you and me can earn money from it by helping businesses build a presence in the metaverse. You don’t need coding skills. You just need a 360 camera. In this video, I show how you can help businesses create a presence in the metaverse through Google Street View, step by step. I’ll also show you which 360 camera to get and how to use them.
What is the metaverse?
When Facebook changed its name to Meta, Mark Zuckerberg never really defined what is the metaverse. The metaverse is a persistent shared virtual world that exists parallel to the real world and enables richer interactions, including VR and AR experiences.
- Persistent: the metaverse should have persistence (similar to MMORPGs, for example). If you change something in it and return to that point, that change should still be there, just like how the real world works.
- Shared: the metaverse will be a shared virtual world, which means that you’ll be able to experience it alongside your family and friends.
- Parallel: the metaverse is not simply its own fantasy world but rather tied to the real world. For example, a store in the real world could have a metaverse counterpart that can provide additional information to its customers, such as directions or AI assistants that become visible when you use an AR or VR headset. But of course, the metaverse is not just limited to the real world and can include completely imaginary elements such as your own virtual planet.
- Richer interactions: the point of the metaverse is to enrich our experiences in the real world. Instead of just photos and videos on an app or website, we would see 3D objects that we could manipulate or we would see immersive media. For example, you could go to a museum with an AR headset and see an overlay with more information about objects beside them. The information might not be just text but could have holograms about their history, for example. More importantly, the metaverse will enable shared interactions. A hologram of your friend can accompany you on your museum tour and you could be talking to each other throughout.
In simple terms, the metaverse is the next stage of the internet. Instead of merely looking at photos and videos on websites or apps, we would be seeing virtual objects or immersive media.
Does the metaverse already exist today?
Yes, there are basic versions of the metaverse that already exist. One of the biggest metaverse assets is Google Street View, which has basic elements of a metaverse. It is persistent — when changes occur to it, the changes remain and do not simply reset to a default state. I can also upload photos to it that become visible not just to me but also to other people.
Features such as Google Maps AR/Live View can enhance our real-world interactions by showing you virtual signposts. Or you can visit famous landmarks that you’ve always wanted to visit on Google Earth through VR. You can also have a shared experience on Street View with the Wander app on Oculus Quest (Meta Quest), which allows you to create a private room with your friends that lets you explore places together.
In the future, I hope Street View is further enhanced to allow people to purchase products and services. I also hope Google Earth VR can be updated to allow shared viewing, similar to Wander on Quest.
How can you make money from the metaverse?
Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft and other companies are investing a lot of money into the metaverse. How can you benefit from and leverage their investment? One of the ways that you can make money from the metaverse is by helping businesses establish a presence in the metaverse through virtual tours. You don’t need coding skills. You just need a 360 camera.
This is not a get-rich-scheme or a way to make millions overnight. Rather, this will require legwork. Here’s how it works.
People often want to see what a place is like, and many people go to Street View to see a 360 photo of the business. How do I know? Because with just seventy-five 360 photos on Google Street View, I’ve already gotten over 9 million views to date. For businesses, having a 360 photo not only helps their business get exposure on Street View, but also makes it more likely that a customer will choose them over a competitor that does not have a 360 photo or virtual tour.
Although people often want to see the 360 photo of a business, most businesses do not have 360 photos. That creates an opportunity for you to offer to create a virtual tour or at least a 360 photo for their business. Again, to clarify, Google doesn’t pay you for uploading photos. Rather, you can earn income from businesses that hire you to take photos of their location.
Which 360 camera should I buy for virtual tours?
The best 360 camera for you depends on your preference for image quality, ease of use, and price. In the video above, I show the easiest cameras. In the video, I also show how each of them is used to help you judge their ease of use.
- Ricoh Theta SC2. Easy to use. Photos are stitched in the camera automatically.
Ricoh Theta SC2 for Business. Similar to Theta SC2 but the default shooting mode is HDR, which is better for virtual tours.
GoPro MAX. Stitches photos automatically in camera as well, and has very good video quality. But has no horizon leveling and no HDR.
Ricoh Theta Z1. Excellent quality due to large 1-inch sensors. Also easy to use. But it’s pricey.
Easy with Additional Features
- Pivo Black. This is a smart tripod. When combined with a good quality smartphone, it can have even more detail than the Theta Z1. But it takes a while to shoot and is not fully spherical.
Trisio. Very good detail and excellent stitching. Looks much better after quick editing (see the free 10 second Curves tutorial below). Discount codes:
5% discount on Amazon with this link and this code: DZ3UT64B 7.
10% discount on Aliexpress with this link and this code: JS6I6U9VUACR
XPhase. The most detailed 360 camera on the market, but requires skill to edit in order to get a good result.
Insta360 One X2. Has excellent video quality but can also take photos with excellent dynamic range. It does not stitch photos in-camera automatically, but it does have HDR and Raw for excellent dynamic range.
You can compare the image quality of 360 cameras for virtual tours below. You can also do side-by-side comparisons with the 360 Camera Comparison Tool.
Why do my photos look different from yours? How do you edit 360 photos?
If you take 360 photos and are not satisfied with how they look, you can significantly improve them through editing. Here are some tutorials.
- FREE 10 second Curves Tutorial. You can make photos look significantly better in under 10 seconds using this technique with the curves tool in Photoshop, Lightroom, or Affinity Photo. This works for both 360 cameras and DSLRs / mirrorless.
- HQ Lite Vol. 1: Fast and Powerful Editing. This is a course that shows you how to make effective edits quickly and easily. You can even use batch processing to edit multiple photos automatically. This works for both 360 cameras and DSLRs / mirrorless.
- HQ Lite Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 coming soon
- Free tutorial for shooting with a DSLR. Learn how to get high quality photos with less time and effort by using a DSLR / mirrorless camera.
- HQ Method: complete course for shooting and editing with 360 cameras. Learn advanced techniques to stand out from the competition.