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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Panorama 360 Camera Review

Panorama 360 Camera is an incredibly neat photography app that encapsulates the ‘it just works’ mentality perfectly, making panoramic photos a dream to create.

 

When first loading the app, it’s immediately obvious that there aren’t really any frills around Panorama 360 Camera. The app is simple to use thanks to offering such basic controls. The user starts their panoramic creation by taking one initial photo and lining up this shot inside a green box to depict where the image is at its most effective. It’s all then a matter of following the green box around the room or landscape to snip the photo together.

At first, it doesn’t look overly pretty. Sure, it’s easy to take more images, it’s just a matter of following the box and hovering the center of the image over a bullseye target. Without any stitching though, it looks a little messy. That’s where the magic kicks in.

Panorama 360 Camera does all the stitching together and quickly. It only takes a matter of seconds (10-60 according to the developer but I never found an instance where it took longer than 20-25) for the results to come through.

Working equally well indoors as well as outdoors, Panorama 360 Camera can create some very impressive shots. Besides the regular straight panorama style look, it’s also possible to create circular panoramas that can work all the better depending on the situation.

Panorama 360 Camera is a little sparse when it comes to sharing functionality. Users can save images to the camera roll but there’s no direct ability to tweet, email or post onto Facebook. The sheer ease of the rest of the app ensures forgiveness is not hard to come by though. Panorama 360 Camera does exactly what anyone could want from such a tool and quickly.

via Panorama 360 Camera Review » 148Apps » iPhone and iPod Touch Application Reviews and News.

Take a Closer Look at Google Business Photos

 Google Business Photos

By Angela West, PCWorld

If you want potential customers to get a 360-degree, panoramic view of your brick-and-mortar business when they click on any of your listings in Google, its new Business Photos campaign makes its listings for business more interactive. To that end, the search giant is pairing its own certified “Trusted Photographers” with businesses that want to show off their interiors to the public.

 

While including these photos in your Google Maps listing and Google Places page is extremely helpful for someone wanting to find out more about your business, it will really matter in your search engine results. When someone does a search and your listing comes up first, Google pinpoints the business on a map, offers its existing street view photo, and gives the option to look inside the business if interior pictures exist.

[Click to enlarge] Interior photos appear next to a company’s Google listing.Interior photos appear next to a company’s Google listing.Hiring a Trusted Photographer

To get started, go to this page, select a Trusted Photographer, and hire them. Google certifies photographers but lets them set their own prices. The photographer will get you to fill out a service agreement, which spells out that while you own the images, you are licensing them to Google for its use.

If you want to hire one of Google’s Trusted Photographers, you may be waiting a while. The city selection is a bit thin, as are the current number of photographers. If there is no Trusted Photographer in your city, apply here and Google will notify you when one becomes available. You can apply to have your business photographed anywhere in the world.

Once you hire a Trusted Photographer, you don’t have a final say on how the photos will look on Google’s website. Blur out employees’ faces and other items if you have privacy concerns once the pictures are on Google by hitting the “Report a Problem” button under the image in question.

You can embed the photos and panoramas on Facebook, your company website, and your Google+ page by following the instructions here.

A Trusted Photographer’s Snapshot of the Program

I spoke to one of the Trusted Photographers on the list, Bryan Tan of Bryan Tan Photography. Google contacted him back in November to be a part of the pilot program, and he’s had a lot of interest from businesses. So far, he’s photographed a few restaurants that haven’t gone on the site yet, a hair salon, and a metaphysical antique shop.

Shop around with this embedded panoramoic photo. Click to view larger size.

While Trusted Photographers quote each business individually for photo rates, the price is largely based on square footage and how cluttered the space is. The more panoramas a photographer has to shoot, the higher the price. But businesses with a larger square footage shouldn’t be afraid, says Bryan.

“An auto body shop with a 7000 square-foot shop contacted me to see what the cost would be, and I priced them comparably to a 1000 square-foot restaurant because I only needed to take one panoramic shot of their wide-open shop space.”

Bryan also said the Trusted Photographer program isn’t ideal for businesses that like to control every aspect of their brand image, since they have no say over which pictures end up on Google’s listings. However, businesses can ask for some pictures or the entire photo shoot to be removed from Google after the fact.

Google’s Business Photos make a great opportunity for exposure, particularly if you have an attractive restaurant or beautifully designed showroom that you want to show off.

To sweeten the deal, Google is offering a $100 incentive for free AdWords promotions to help small business owners offset the cost of hiring one of its approved photographers.

Becoming a Trusted Photographer

If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Trusted Photographer, sign up here. Google isn’t publicizing the requirements to get its stamp of approval, although it does talk about the technologies and techniques in which a Trusted Photographer is trained. A Trusted Photographer not only needs photographic acumen, but the technical expertise to upload files in the correct format and layout.

Tan confirms that the photographic methods used are similar to maknig real estate panoramas, although using proprietary Google software. Google’s tools are free its Trusted Photographers, and there’s no charge to be part of the program.

Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She’s written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest and Facebook.

via pcworld