It can be a pain to upload your own Street View photos even if you have a 360-degree camera. You may have to stop to take photos every few feet, and then there's the question of getting the spherical shots from your camera to the internet. Google thinks it can help. It's working with hardware partners on "Street View ready" standards that will certify 360-degree cameras based on how easily you can post shots. Street View mobile ready devices let you post directly from an app, with no PC required; auto ready cameras, meanwhile, are designed for capturing high-accuracy shots from your car. VR ready cameras collect the geometry you need for (what else?) virtual reality and connected 360-degree shots, while workflow ready cameras come with publishing tools that upload directly to Street View. In at least some cases, uploading is just a matter of recording some footage (even on the move) and loading an app.
There will be 20 certified cameras arriving in 2017. Logically, not all of them get the same certifications -- as you can see below, it varies from brand to brand. You'd want to gravitate toward companies like Yi Technology for a mobile ready camera, for instance, while you'd want to look at a company such as Matterport for VR. As for the most recognizable names in the business, like GoPro and Samsung? They're certified as workflow ready.
The move may help kickstart demand for 360-degree cameras, since it gives you a reason to buy one even if you have no interest in VR. Want to show friends what it was really like on the beach? You now have an easy solution. Pros creators might particularly appreciate the auto and workflow certifications. Also, this could have a ripple effect on Google's other businesses. If you already have a camera for Street View, it's not a stretch to post 360-degree videos on YouTube. And of course, there's a chance you'll want a VR headset (like Google's Daydream View) to increase the immersion. This probably won't usher in a 360-degree revolution, but every little nudge might help with Google's long-term ambitions.