Google bought a startup to help it make Street View even better

Google has acquired a small Portuguese startup called Digisfera that focuses on 360° photography projects.

The nearly five-year-old company, which has created experiences like a virtual tour of London or an interactive, stitched-together panorama of the FIFA World Cup, announced the news on its website.

“We’re excited to join the Street View team at Google to continue building great experiences using 360° photography,”Digisfera says.

Over the years, Google’s Street View images have gotten increasingly more spectacular, as the company takes on further-flung locations, like Antarctica, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or the base-camp of Mount Everest.

Google recently launched an initiative to help bring its Street View photography into the classroom through virtual “field trips” using its Cardboard headset. With the Expedition program, students can “wander” through Barcelona or take a dip in the vibrant waters around the Galapagos Islands.

The Digisfera tools and team will likely aid this, and other, initiatives.

As a result of acquisition, though, Digisfera will be shutting its PanoTag tool that let photographers tag their images, and open-sourcing Marzipano, its tool for turning panoramic photos into virtual tours.

Here’s the full statement from the company:

We’re excited to share that Digisfera is joining Google. We started Digisfera almost five years ago and have had the opportunity to work in many interesting projects involving 360º photography over the years. We’re excited to join the Street View team at Google to continue building great experiences using 360° photography.

As we move on to our next adventure, it will no longer be possible for us to keep developing PanoTag, so it is being discontinued. We are planning to open-source our Marzipano viewer in the coming weeks and hope this will benefit the panoramic photography community.

Thank you to all of our customers and friends who have supported us along the way!

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