What is Round.Me? A Review of the Panoramic Photo Tour App
Photos are one of the most popular types of media, as can be attributed to the lasting value of sites like Pinterest, Flickr, and Instagram. While many of us are content to share photos of places we’ve been and things we’ve seen, many others want to explore, and to do so without leaving their home, which is where panoramic photo tours come in. RoundMe is an app that offers an immersive panoramic photo tour, which is best when used on an iPhone. The app works using a simple premise of showing you high quality panoramic photos in a way you wouldn’t usually see them.
What is Round.Me?
At the most basic level, Round.Me is a photo app social media platform accessible via desktop and mobile. The app, and the account are free, so you can sign up and get started without spending anything. Once you sign up, you’ll be able to view a variety of images on the home page, editors picks, and search for locations on a map, to see what Spaces others have uploaded. Spaces are collections of images from a specific location, created by one individual, allowing you to see more than one shot from the location.
On the iOS platform, when you load a photo, it moves with your phone movements, so that it looks almost as though you’re capturing the panorama through your own camera. It’s a little less immersive on a desktop, where photos are displayed as large panoramas, which you can zoom into to see more detail. Because many of the photos are professional, that can actually be quite a bit of detail. When you see a panorama you like, you can favorite it, and comment to tell the photographer. Essentially, it allows you to see the world, or whatever you’d like, through your screen, via high resolution images taken by photographers. It’s also a unique experience, especially on the phone, because you can zoom in to incredible details, that you simply won’t be able to do on Google Images or Pinterest.
Round.Me has a number of very cool features, starting with Hotspots. While you’re probably thinking of WiFi connections, Hotspots are actually ways for the photographer to add links, other photos, or videos to specific places in their panorama. An easy example is that an art gallery could upload a panorama of their gallery, and then add hotspots of each painting, allowing you to see prices and get buy it now links, see a history of the painting, or even a video if it being painted. This applies to everything from a history of a national monument or natural site, to information about a rock climber or tree.
The World Map is another very interesting feature, because it allows you to search Spaces by location, which show up on a map of the world. You can also type in cities or places, to bring up specific locations. Of course, Round.Me is still relatively new, so there aren’t millions of Spaces up yet, but there likely will be eventually, allowing you to see any area you want to visit through panoramas before you go.
The People function allows you to search through active members to find those uploading photos you like, and follow them. You can also search for people nearby, to see what local or area photographers are uploading.
If you want to upload your own photos, you can create a Space and upload a 360 degree panoramic photo in 8-bit JPEG format. While you’re not likely to get many views without very high quality panoramas, you can upload them anyway to show people your space.
Round.Me has a lot of viable applications, starting with researching travel destinations, researching for writing about those destinations, or simply looking for inspiration. On a more practical front, it could be one of the best ways ever invented to show off real estate photography for buyers, sellers, and renters. It’s not quite a video, but it is immersive, and considerably cheaper to produce than a video. It could be used for portfolios, showing events, and much more, with the same sort of practical application.
Round.Me is an interesting concept and it’s one that has a lot of potential, especially if more people adopt it. For those who love photography, travel, and art, it’s one of the best looking new social media sites to come out in a long time, although, like Flickr, it’s crowd seems to be mostly professional or high-level amateur photographers.