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Facebook will turn your neglected panoramas into 360 photos for VR

Let’s be brutally honest for a second. Panorama shots don’t get as much love as they should. It could be argued that social media platforms and websites deserve some of the blame, often delivering a clunky way to view them. But they do make for inherently awkward viewing on most platforms anyway.

Fortunately, Facebook and Oculus are doing something about this, as the two announced that your panoramas can now be viewed with virtual reality headsets.

The duo revealed that this functionality should hit news feeds and Gear VR headsets “in the coming weeks”.

Got a Gear VR? Then you should visit the Oculus 360 Photos app to check out the panoramas.

“On Samsung phones, when viewing a 360 photo, there will be a button in the top left corner that says ‘View in VR’. If you tap on it and insert your phone into your Gear VR, you can see the 360 photo in VR,” Oculus said in a blog post.

“Imagine standing in the middle of a colorful parade at the Rio Carnival, or letting family from far away feel like they’re part of that special birthday gathering.”

No VR? No worries

Don’t have a VR headset? Well, you’ll soon be able to fire up the Facebook app instead, making for a much better viewing experience than zooming in and laterally scrolling.

“You’ll be able to take a panoramic photo from your phone or use a 360 camera, upload it to Facebook, and pan around by tilting your phone or dragging the image,” Oculus explained.

It’s not the only notable VR-related news that Oculus shared this week, revealing that over a million people used the Gear VR headset last month.

The Facebook-owned company also shed some light on what people are doing with their headsets.

“Seven of the top 10 most used apps are videos and, on any given day, nearly 80% of people who use Gear VR watch video content,” Oculus explained.

Read more: Is the R2000 Samsung Gear VR worth buying?

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More