While Google Cardboard has been available on both Android and iPhone for over two years now, a key part of the inexpensive virtual reality platform has been Android-only until now. But that changed today when Google released its Cardboard Camera app for iPhone.
“With Cardboard Camera—now available on iOS as well as Android—you can capture 3D 360-degree virtual reality photos,” Google’s Carlos Hernandez explains in a new post to the Official Google blog. “Just like Google Cardboard, it works with the phone you already have with you.”
As I’ve explained in the past, I am a big fan of the Google Cardboard platform, and it offers an astonishing virtual reality (VR) experience for very little money: You can pick up a Google Cardboard headset—some are literally made of cardboard, obviously—for as little as $5.Indeed, in my experience, the stock Google Cardboard ($15)works as well if not better than more expensive plastic models, like the View-Master VR, which cost twice as much.
Some of the Cardboard VR experiences are incredible. But Google released its Cardboard Camera app for Android back in December, giving users a way to make their own VR photos. These VR photos are “three-dimensional panoramas” where “near things look near and far things look far,” Google explains. Naturally, it has to be seen to be believed, and any 2D sample shots that try to demonstrate the effect simply fall short.
“You can look around to explore the image in all directions, and even hear sound recorded while you took the photo to hear the moment exactly as it happened,” Hernandez writes. “To capture a VR photo, hold your phone vertically, tap record, then turn around as though you’re taking a panorama.”
Concurrent with the release of Cardboard Camera for iPhone, Google is also providing a new sharing feature—yes, on Android too—that lets you create virtual photo albums from multiple VR photos and then share them with others via email, messaging, or any other way you can share a standard hyperlink.