Share Photo Sphere on Google Maps

Deep links and even embedding panoramas can be done, but it takes a few steps

I might have mentioned once or twice how Photo Sphere is one of my favorite features of Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4. And I might have slightly bemoaned how the only real ways to view someone's Photo Sphere pictures are on Google+, either in a desktop browser or Android's Google+ app. (And I might have mentioned all that in a single post, yesterday.)

Google Maps also got a nod, and I think it's going to be my go-to method for sharing Photo Sphere pics for a couple reasons.

Sharing photos all over the world

Google Street View Contribute

What we're doing here is actually sharing to the Google Street View project. As you can see in the pictures above, folks are doing this all over the world. And now it's your time.

Before you do anything else, make sure your camera app is storing the location of the pictures. (Look for it in the settings.)

Submit your pics: Share panoramas to Google Maps

First things first: You'll need to submit your Photo Sphere picture to Google Maps. Pretty simple. In the gallery, hit the sharing button, then choose "Google Maps." You'll be greeted with the screen you see above, and warned that pictures over 3 megabytes probably should be sent over Wifi. But this also is the time to reconsider sending the pic. While your backyard might make for a really cool Photo Sphere, you probably don't want to be posting your home address directly to Google Maps, and by extension Google+.

Also note that "Read More" link at the bottom left. There's important stuff there regarding what information you'll be sharing -- and how to unshare if need be -- but we'll highlight this portion:

In Google Maps, when someone views one of your panoramas, they will also see your name, the location, the date the panorama was created, and a link to see the panorama in Google+. Only people in your Google+ extended circles can comment on the panorama.

You can check out the full policies page here. So, again. Be careful what you're sharing.

Once you submit your Photo Sphere ... nothing happens. Google actually approves each picture -- the handful I submitted took about a day, but I've got no real feel if that's the average amount of time it takes.

Photo Sphere in Google Maps

Once your pictures are approved, you'll be able to view them -- and share links to them -- in Google Maps. Here's what you see when you zoom in to Pensacola -- four Photo Spheres that I just uploaded. Hover over the dots to see a preview. (This works zoomed out in the world view as well.) The buttons at the top of the map let you highlight panoramas that you've taken, or pictures from the community.

Sharing a Photo Sphere

How to link to your Photo Sphere

Viewing the Photo Sphere within the Google Maps Street View site (here's that link again) gives you a couple new options. you can click on the contributor's name to view their other submissions in Google+. Click on the location of the image, though, and it'll open the Photo Sphere pic in Google Maps. And from there, you can get a link directly to the panorama -- just like any other location in Google Maps. That means you can direct friends and family straight to your Photo Sphere picture on other services, like Twitter or Facebook (though you don't get good metadata for summaries yet).

Or, even better, you can embed your panorama.

One final benefit of sharing your Photo Spheres through Google Maps -- you get a new album in Google+ titled "Geo Panoramas," which will keep things nice and organized. As since Google+ can still be a little clunky when it comes to adding new images to old albums, it's nice to see pictures added automatically.

There's a lot going on here, and frankly it can be a bit confusing, whether you're talking about Google Maps, or Street View, or Google+. We'd love to see Google pare things down a bit. But the end result is you get to share your Photo Spheres with the world, and you get some deep links to go with them.

There are 21 comments

DanSan says:

is the sharing to google maps strictly a Nexus 4 feature? Tried to do it with my VZW Galaxy Nexus running AOKP 4.2 and when I hit the share button Google Maps isn't even an option.

bobbiac says:

It's likely the fact that you are on AOKP. Have you grabbed the latest gapps.. Or flashed to stock?

mpinter says:

I'm running a VZW GNex with CM 10.1 nightlies, and I'm running into a similar but unusual issue. I've taken a few photospheres, and wanted to upload a couple after reading Phil's article. One photosphere has the Maps available in Share and the other doesn't. So it isn't a rooted issue. Could it be something about the photosphere (lacking metadata/GPS data, etc)? Any ideas, fellow droiders?

mcleodglen says:

there really isn't much more then can do that Google hasn't already thought of. A lawsuit is in the near future I'm sure. Probably something along the lines of "they are inventing everything so we sue them for that"

icebike says:

More likely along the lines of requiring people to join Google+ to do just about anything in any Google product, contrary to the terms of service in the past.

You can't submit any photos or road correction, or even report incorrect information in Google maps anymore unless you join plus. You can't even post a review in the Android market, even if you bought the app. I was under the impression the market was a place for all Android users, not Google's private data mine.

Adriaaaaan says:

?? obviously you need a google account to post comments. Its all the same system, they were always data mining your comments (as does any other commenting system). The only difference now is that it is one whole system rather than a bunch of unconnected ones.

Ths point of using g+ is it'll help combat spam and useless comments as people can be made more accountable. The precious android market commenting system was a total mess, full of spam.

This is exactly what I hoped would happen. Street view for places that don't have it!

Jazmaan says:

Last time I checked, rooted phones are blocked from uploading Photospheres to Google Maps. :(

soccerwuedo5 says:

I am rooted with the GSM GNex and I just uploaded a photosphere just now. I am using the stock rom, though. It may be a rom issue.

DanSan says:

thats what i am thinking. I am on a nightly of AOKP that came out last month before the official release so maybe thats why

I have already used this feature, it's really nice

dcreed says:

Will Google send me a check for doing their work for them?

Adriaaaaan says:

are you going to pay for using the maps?

bobbiac says:


Gareth Bale says:


fwiw, I'm running a Nexus 4 with Android 4.2.1, (non-rooted), and I don't have the option to share my photos to Google Maps.

I have taken a photo using photoshere from my rooted nexus 4, however i cannot see the option to share on google maps!!! may clue?

sdiddy1 says:

I see the option only on certain photo spheres. I'm not sure why some have the option to share to Maps, and other's don't... They're all geo-tagged, and on my stock Nexus 4.

Grzegorz B says:

I'm running a Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.3, (non-rooted), and I don't have the option to share my photos to Google Maps in Gallery. :( help!!!

Grzegorz B says:

afater upgrade to 4.4.2 same thing :(