It was just announced that UK based imaging company, NCTech has teamed up with Google to develop a killer new 360-degree panoramic camera that can be used with Google Maps and Street View. According to NCTech’s website, “The iris360 is the worlds highest resolution, fully automatic, 360 degree HDR camera that’s designed to speed the capture and upload of 360 degree images to Street View.”

The camera allows the average person or in this case, “business owner” to be able to effortlessly capture, stitch, upload and publish directly to Google Maps, Street View/Business View within a single day. Where by using the technology we currently have, it would take a couple days or even weeks to complete. Depending on the process of the individual photographer.

Because we currently do not have the camera in our hands to do a full review on it (look for that in the future) we don’t want to speculate as to how well it will work. One thing we can say is that when it makes it’s debut in August 2015, it doesn’t look like it will be able to handle full Virtual Tour experiences by seamlessly connecting Panoramas together in the same way that Business View (Street View) currently does. This means you will not see any arrows on the ground to advance to other areas of a particular business.

Essentially it looks like a Google PhotoSphere which is one single panoramic photo. If this is the case then one would not see it as the featured “See Inside” thumbnail on Google Local pages, rather a PhotoSphere on Google Maps. Based on the August 2014 example below the resolution seems to be lower quality than what a Trusted Photographer can produce. We can’t wait to do comparisons with the official product and showcase what this impressive camera can do.

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Google has somewhat announced a companion Street View app that will work alongside the iris360 and possibly other spherical cameras in the future. What we know is a user will be able to control the iris360 camera and upload photos to Street View directly from Android and iOS devices. Details on this app will be revealed as we get closer to it’s release in August.

How does the iris360 affect the future of Google Business View and Google Trusted Photographers?

Ever since the See Inside feature has shown up on Google maps in 2011 business owners have always needed a Certified Google Trusted Photographer to take the panoramic photos for them. In 2015 it’s very much the same. Google has invested so much into helping business owners get started it’s unlikely that they will stop using Trusted Photographers any time within the near future.

Here at SD 360 Tours we don’t see the iris360 or any other spherical camera taking the place of Google Trusted Photographers anytime soon. In fact, Business owners and photographers alike should get excited that the iris360 camera has been approved as a camera that Trusted Photographers can use to help expedite the virtual tour photo shoot process. It could mean less turn around time, less time we will need to spend at your business and possibly less expensive photo shoots. But again we don’t want to make any assumptions and certainly do not want to speak for other photographers.

This is definitely going to be an exciting year for Street View, spherical photography and the industry of immersive 360 degree virtual tours. There will be additional details on this and Business View changes in the upcoming days.

Here’s the official iris360 press release at NCTech.