Google Photos failing to display 360 photos (Photo Spheres) [Updated]
Update (August 17): Several users on the official Google Photos forum are reporting that the issue is fixed for them. Given that the company hasn’t officially said anything, we can’t say for sure whether or not a fix has actually been rolled out.
If you were facing this issue, we’d advice you to confirm if you are now able to see your 360 photos.
Original story follows:
Are you a Google Photos user who is fond of Photo Spheres (360 photos) as well? If your answer is yes, we’re afraid we have a bad news for you: the functionality is not working as intended on Photos.
For those of you unaccustomed, Photo Spheres are panoramas or wide angle perspectives viewable as 360 degree images. It’s like a street view, where the gimmick is that one can scroll around the image and relish everything the way it originally was. Sounds interesting, right?
But, disappointing is the revelation by some Google Photos users that 360 photos or photo spheres get corrupt when the service is accessed through a Web browser, irrespective of whether you’re on a phone or desktop. Interestingly, thumbnails show up fine, but after tapping on the 360 photo (or zooming in, in some cases) the screen turns black with triangle exclamation marks.
Following is an example screenshot:
Even if the image loads initially, you’ll observe that it’s disoriented (see the one below).
There are also stray reports that 360 images keep loading, without any results or exclamation marks. As already mentioned in the beginning, the issue is being reported only when Google Photos is accessed through Web browser, meaning the mobile app shows such images correctly.
There’s currently no information about the root cause of the problem, but it’s likely to be metadata-related (XMP meta data to be specific). Reason being, one of the users in the forum said he took a 360 photo that wasn’t showing up properly, and added the necessary meta data (he didn’t explain what exactly he did) using Photosphere XMP Tagger tool (you can learn more about the tool here). When this updated image was uploaded on Google Photos, it showed up correctly.
Here’s a screenshot of the original image:
And here’s a screenshot of the image featuring meta data related changes:
Clearly, Google Photos displayed the updated image correctly.
The problem doesn’t appear to be wide spread, likely because not many users are into 360 photos. But at-least some of those who are, are pitching in complaints on the official Photos forum. The issue came to notice on August 1 and was quickly addressed by a Photos expert, who said Google has been informed about the problem.
Here’s what the expert exactly said:
I escalated this to Google
They repeated the same on August 10 as well. So, it won’t be a stretch to say that Google is aware, but is yet to acknowledge the issue. For those of you troubled by the aforementioned, keep a tab here as we’ll keep you updated if and when the company rolls out a fix.
Meanwhile, take a look at some of the user noted aspects of the problem.