With the population at large gaining access to better cameras, including phones with better cameras, Google is making it possible for the layperson to build panoramic photography like we have here and display it on Google Views. Called Google Sphere, or Photosphere, if you're using an Android device such as the Samsung S4 or Nexus the process is quite simple, but even someone using a DSLR camera can contribute their panoramic photography to Google Maps.
Using an Android Device
As Google is the creator of both Android devices as well as Google Views, it makes sense that building Photospheres in Google Maps is easiest and most intuitive using their devices that run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Rather than taking multiple photos though, you will simply rotate yourself steadily while holding your device and matching your camera's view onto small icons you will see on your phone's screen. There are undo features in the event you want a redo of a shot, or someone walks into your frame. But once you're happy with the Google Sphere you shot, you can upload it directly to Google Views.
Embedding a Photo Sphere into a webpage
Here's an example of of a Photo Sphere shot by Dan Taylor embedded into a webpage using Google's standard embed code.
Using a DSLR Camera
Though not as simple as using an Android device, using your own camera offers its own advantages, including creating higher-resolution panoramas and having more control over the image settings, which can be very important in more difficult light situations (in the evening, for example).
With your own camera, you will need to shoot multiple overlapping images and then import them into your preferred photo stitching software on your computer. Once you export the final panorama in jpg form, you will need to add XMP metadata so that Google, after you upload the Photosphere in Google Maps, recognizes it as a Photosphere and knows where to file the image's location on Google Maps. You will need to log into your Google+ profile and upload the image there. If you correctly added the XMP metadata earlier, Google will automatically recognize it as a PhotoSphere image. One key point you may want to check first is making sure your settings are set to allow you to upload images at full size. Otherwise Google+ will shrink the image down a bit and you may lose some resolution and clarity from your image.
Lastly, you will need to go to Google Views and import your Photosphere in Google Maps so that it appears when others search for that location. Doing this is as easy as clicking the import from camera icon and choosing your Google Sphere, or, even more simply, dragging and dropping the image. If prompted, you will want to add the location of the photo, and upload time will vary obviously, depending on how large your Google Sphere's file size is.
Either way you choose to share your images, this can be a great way to share with people a unique view of your favorite locations around the world, and can be a great way to browse locations in which you yourself are interested. We encourage you to connect with Destination360 on Google+, or Dan Taylor, if you would like to stay in touch on the latest developments with Google Photospheres.