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The best feature of latest Android update: 360-degree photos

October 30, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez

Panoramic photos are nice, but Google just did Apple one better with a new feature that allows users to take a photo with a 360-degree view on the latest version of its Android operating system.

Along with some new devices, Google introduced Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on Monday, and the standout feature is called Photo Sphere. It lets users photograph the scene around them and then automatically stitches them together to create a 360 degree photo. It's similar to the 360-degree panaromas we do here at The Times.

The feature, seen in the video above, stores the 360-degree images as JPEGs, according to Google's Hugo Barra, Android director of product management. He said the files can be emailed or posted to Google+.

"Photo Spheres make you feel like you’re really there," Barra said in a Google+ post describing the feature. "When you're snapping a photo sphere, you can move in every direction, you can look up, you can look down, every detail from the original scene is just there."

We've seen third-party apps with this type of feature in the past, but with Google adding it as a native feature to Android, you'll probably be seeing more 360-degree images than before.

And fret not iPhone users -- if you don't want to get behind, you can get apps with the same feature for your phone too. The 99-cent app 360 Panorama will produce the same type of photos.

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