Google Street View
Google on a move to upgrade Street View with acquiring panorama start-up DigisferaReuters

Google has acquired panorama startup Digisfera. The new acquisition will enable the search giant to enhance its 360-degree Street View experience.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Digsfera in a note on its site confirmed that its employees will be joining the Street View team at Google. "We started Digisfera almost five years ago and have had the opportunity to work in many interesting projects involving 360-degree photography over the years. We're excited to join the Street View team at Google to continue building great experiences using 360-degree photography," the note read.

Portugal-based Digisfera was founded in January 2011 with an aim to offer 360-degree photography experience on new projects. Some of its past projects include the large-size panorama of the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, during the 2014 World Cup and a 360-degree view of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the US president.

As a result of the acquisition, Digisfera has discontinued, PanoTag, the tagging system that was allowing photographers to popularise their panoramic views on social networks. The start-up said that "no new customers will be accepted" on its system, although PanoTag servers will remain available for existing customers until 31 October.

In addition, Digisfera is set to open-source Marzipano viewer in the coming weeks. The viewer works as a 360-degree media tool and allows users to generate a virtual tours via a set of panoramas, and export the same as a web application. Also, it works with web standards and supports web browsers with WebGL technology. The start-up considers that making Marzipano an open-source platform "will benefit the panoramic photography community".

Further, Google would start using Digisfera resources to upgrade Street View. Tools like Marzipano may be provided to photographers to expand the 360-degree experience on the web.