Google's crazy new app takes 3D photographs you can view in virtual reality

Google cardboard virtual realityKimberly White/Getty Images for The New York TimesGuests try out Google Cardboard at the NYT Mag Live Design and Technology Event on June 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Thanks to Google, you can now experience photos in virtual reality.

The search and mobile giant has launched a new app — called Cardboard Camera — that lets users take 3D photos that can then be viewed in virtual reality.

It’s designed to work with Google Cardboard, Google’s DIY virtual reality headset. Cardboard doesn’t require any expensive specialised hardware — it’s just a cardboard “viewer” than the user slots their smartphone into. It’s rough-and-ready, but it works.

With Cardboard Camera, the user takes a panoramic photo using the app. They then load up the photo using the app while their phone is in the cardboard viewer, and they can explore it in virtual reality. It also shoots 3D photos, meaning that it is able to effectively simulate depth. And, like all of Google’s consumer products, it’s free.

Here’s how it looks:

Google Cardboard is very much still in its infancy. There are a few games and experimental apps floating around, but none are at the same level of sophistication as those being developed for dedicated virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift.

In fact, some of the best apps available for Cardboard right now are those developed by Google itself. Google Street View is available to explore in virtual reality, as is Google Earth, letting users soar above the continents using their cardboard viewer.

You can download Cardboard Camera for Android here »

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