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Where should you host your 360-degree videos?

One of the things that made 3D functionality on smartphones die so quickly was the inability to share your experiences with anyone else. Hooray, you captured this thing in 3D mode. Now what? For the most part, there was no answer.

Sharing 360-degree videos doesn't have the same problem. In fact, you're spoiled for choice. With Facebook and YouTube supporting 360 degree videos, and just about every manufacturer of 360-degree cameras offering its own hosting service for the images and videos your create, choosing where to host and share your 360-degree videos becomes more about the kind of experience you want your viewers to have, and less about the video itself.

Here's a look at a video captured on a 360fly camera that has been uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, and the 360fly video service, to see which serves your needs best.

360fly

As the creator of the camera and its software, you'd expect the 360fly hosting service to have the best quality when viewing your video. While that's certainly true of this video, the player is missing a number of features. There's only a couple of places you can easily share the link to this video to, and none of them grab your attention and let you know there's something cool happening here. You can't fullscreen the video in your browser, and you need the 360fly app to watch the video on your phone. It's not the easiest to share, but it sure looks nice.

Facebook

Using 360fly as a dash camChecking out 360fly in the carPosted by Russell Holly on Sunday, April 10, 2016

Facebook doesn't make it particularly easy to embed its videos elsewhere — you have to snag the embed code from the post on your timeline — but it's available immediately in auto-playing to anyone following you. Seeing a 360-degree video auto-playing in your feed is incredibly cool, grabbing your attention immediately and encouraging you to play along. The quality is degraded both on the app and the browser when compared to the 360fly service and YouTube, but it's on Facebook and immediately gets plenty of attention.

YouTube

As the golden standard for free video uploads the world over, there's a feeling of inevitability when it comes to publishing a video on YouTube. It guarantees just about everyone has a way to watch it, and on mobile there's and interactive quality with 360-degree videos that is worth noting. Like other YouTube video formats, uploading a 360-degree video can take a little while to fully process, which means the quality suffers a bit for the first hour the video has been published to YouTube. After that, you have a video that looks nice on just about every screen and can be viewed in Google Cardboard with the push of a button.

There are clear reasons to want to use any — or even all — of these services to host you 360 video. YouTube and Facebook are all about the audience you're trying to reach, but if your 360 camera manufacturer offers a decent hosting solution it's probably worth considering. What really matters is that you can share what you've captured with everyone, something that has never been easier than it is right now.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

11 Comments
  • A big negative to posting on facebook is that you have to use facebook. The 360fly video above doesn't play at all.
  • Yeah, but the YouTube video in mobile just plays as some horrible fish eye video with no panning. Nothing is perfect yet.
  • What are you talking about? It works best on mobile! When you move your phone around it looks like your right there, looking around the scene. And of course you can also move it around by dragging your finger too.
  • If it looks like fish eye then you need to launch it in the native YouTube app. The video embedded in the android central app doesn't launch the YouTube app it's self. Posted via the Android Central App
  • First 360 video I've ever seen and woah that was cool!
  • YouTube has a while channel just for 360 videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzuqhhs6NWbgTzMuM09WKDQ
  • None of them seem to be working. Typical. Trying to play them on my Nexus 5 just won't play. Posted via the Android Central App
  • YouTube has the perfect way. I can pan around my phone and watch the 360 video. Very cool Posted via the Android Central App
  • I got a 360fly last week. I found a great site for VR (360) video, has a great app, and works prefect with the 360fly. Try out vrideo.com. YouTube did not post the video correctly and I didn't even know you could upload the video to the 360fly site.
  • 360fly is very hard to control on a Chromebook. Dragging around spins the camera way too much. YouTube is pretty great at it. And fb... I can't be bothered to try it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is it possible to upload the 360 video on Google photo? I keep there my stuff