Google has acquired Digisfera, a Lisbon, Portugal-based startup focusing on 360° photography, which is expected to be integrated with Google Street View.
Digisfera was founded in 2011 by panoramic photographer Antonio Cabral, and his son Manuel Cabral.
“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,” said Digisfera. “We’re excited to join the Street View team at Google to continue building great experiences using 360° photography.”
Digisfera also announced that it is discontinuing its PanoTag tool that let photographers tag their images, and open-sourcing Marzipano, its tool for turning panoramic photos into virtual tours.
Digisfera has undertaken many panoramic projects over the past five years, including photographing the inauguration of U.S. president Barack Obama, the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, according to sources.
Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from positions along many streets in the world. Street View is available as a component of Google Maps, as a web application, and as a mobile application for Android and iOS.
Google launched Street View in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expanded to include cities and rural areas worldwide. Street View lets users explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, restaurants and small businesses with 360-degree images.
Street View had its origins in 2001 with The Stanford CityBlock Project, a Google-sponsored Stanford University research project. The project ended in June 2006, and its technology was folded into StreetView. Google Street View displays panoramas of stitched images. Most photography is done by car, but some is done by trekker, tricycle, walking, boat, snowmobile, camel, and underwater apparatus.
In June 2012, Google announced that it has captured 20 petabytes of data for Street View, comprising photos taken along 5 million miles of roads, covering 39 countries and about 3,000 cities.