Announced during its 2018 I/O developers’ conference last week, Google Tour Creator is a virtual reality tool that will allow content creators to easily build immersive, 360-degree tours on a single, simple-to-use platform. In conjunction with the unveiling of Tour Creator, Ricoh announced that its THETA V 360-degree camera is compatible with the program.
Using the THETA V—a product that we recently reviewed and gave high marks to on UNBOXED—content creators can capture and upload 360-degree images and Street View content into the Tour Creator platform. Additionally, the THETA V’s ability to capture 360-degree video with spatial surround-sound audio makes it a “perfectly matched” product for recording “highly realistic imagery and immersive content” for Tour Creator, Ricoh said in a statement.
“Tour Creator and Theta V are perfectly paired in that they both combine powerful capabilities and ease of use, making it very simple for people to create and share stories,” Kaz Eguchi, president, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation, said in the statement. “There is a perception that creating VR is costly and difficult, but this doesn’t have to be the case. This isn’t the case. We are excited to bring the benefits of immersive imaging to a broad audience.”
Though the platform looks like something that VR enthusiasts would enjoy, Tour Creator really seems to be a product that’s more geared towards two areas in particular—the classroom and the real estate market. On its landing page, Tour Creator specifically calls out teachers and real estate agents that have already taken advantage of the tool, and it shows off some of the latest uploads.
The interactive scenes give creators the ability to highlight specific parts of the photo or video with interactive content.
Credit: Google Tour Creator by Google Expiditions
Tour Creator “enables students, teachers, and anyone with a story to tell, to make a VR tour using imagery from Google Street View or their own 360 photos,” Google Daydream Software Engineer Brittney Fraser wrote in a blog post introducing the platform. “The tool is designed to let you produce professional-level VR content without a steep learning curve.”
Ease of use is definitely the end goal here for Google, and that’s what makes Ricoh’s THETA V a perfect partner. As a simple-to-use product itself, the THETA V is already being used as a tool in the classroom and other industries. Earlier this month, Ricoh announced the RICOH Tours platform for the real estate community. The package, which includes a THETA V camera and other accessories for shooting 360-degree images and video, gives realtors access to all kinds of tools and analytics to see how their videos and listings are performing.
To view other Tour Creator projects, check out Google’s Poly platform, which is basically a social network for sharing 360-degree content.