YouTube is officially allowing users to upload and watch 360-degree videos. Once something that seemed like it would be a short-lived gimmick and nothing else – has now become one of Google and YouTube’s biggest focuses. The move is sparked by the increased interest in virtual reality headsets – which feature a wide variety of functions and the ability to see the videos and content that users put up without the traditional limits.
Right now, YouTube has a relatively short list of cameras that are capable of uploading 360-degree content to its network – but those numbers will surely increase as time goes on. Those included are the Bublcam, 360cam by Giroptic, Allie by IC Real Tech, the SP360 by Kodak and the RICOH THETA. Unfortunately, one of the major drawbacks of this type of content sharing is the price requirement for those who are looking actually to create and share this type of content. Generally speaking, these cameras start around $300 and go as high as $1,000 – but for someone who is just looking to upload content recreationally – this might not be the most-important update to them.
It’s clear that while Google is incredibly interested in this type of content – they aren’t entirely sure where it needs to go next. That being said though, this is how YouTube made its start begin with. It all came down to how users actually interacted with the tools that YouTube put at the users disposal. So, perhaps this will have a positive impact – as the company said in a blog post, “You could let viewers see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wingsuit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look. Only you know what’s possible.”
For users looking to use this type of content without actually having a 360-degree camera to view it – or any virtual reality capabilities – it will be important for them to know that they can just click-and-drag around the video to actually interact with the space – as it they were watching it in a 360-degree viewer. The move is one that is powerful and shows just how important the changes are to YouTube, in the long run. This though, will all largely be dependent on how users actually take advantage of this new opportunity.