Guys. And Girls. With all due respect....and excuse my occasionally foul language:
It's these universally negative responses that really gets me down about this community, and convinces me nearly completely that there will be NO great community of 360 photographers, NO great standards of data portability, NO great aggregator, NO central place for all things panoramic - there will be nothing like that. We are a bunch of perfectionist, bickering, jealous elitists who are digging our own grave with respect to this medium that deserves so much more (and which I have actually been devoting my entire working life to for the last 6 years)
Now, do you remember 5 or 6 years ago when you'd try to sell your services to someone, and they don't know what the fuck a QTVR or panoramic photo is (or whatever it is we call it, we can't even agree on that) ?
Nowadays, most web-using humans DO know what it is. Do you know why? It's because Google has made it *extremely* widespread. Yeah, they made images with some stitching errors in them. But you know what? They made something like 100 MILLION of these panoramas (total guess). Unless you are living under a rock, you HAVE seen these images, there is probably one of your house. Unless you are a great troll in total denial, these are images that are just like the ones you make (except they have additional 3d depth data as well as extremely precise georeferencing)
Yeah, and now they are trying to make panoramas inside. From what it looks like to me, they're using automatic exposure, bracketing, and some kind of exposure fusion to make the capture process entirely automatic. And you know what? Ask 50 NORMAL PEOPLE if they can tell the difference, and probably 45 of them won't be able to tell the difference between this low-cost version, and your painstakingly hand-made, retouched version. People just don't care about that. Admit it! Am I saying that you as a photographer should only produce lower-quality content? Of course not.
I think comparing one of these Google-produced panoramas with your own is completely missing the point. Everything Google does has the idea of massive scale behind it. The kind of scale that most people have simply never even thought about. How do you get to the hundreds of millions? The mind boggles. What if it results in a bit of ghosting from the automatic exposure bracketing? Who really gives a shit? We're talking about covering the ENTIRE WORLD, people.
Did you ever think about how maybe our medium (360 photography) might benefit if you lowered your standards a bit, and shot 100x more panoramas than you do now? And if the bar was lowered enough that "non photographers" could also make spherical panoramas without any trouble? This is the kind of stuff that will take this medium to the mainstream, and not make it get lost in geek obscurity. The great stuff will float to the top - it always does. (And these google interior panos, just like streetview, are only going to get better and better)
Make no mistake: the sentiments expressed so far in this thread (and many others) are not going to push this medium forward into further familiarity and popularity. Quite the opposite.
Now, I'm going to continue to help as many clueless people as possible learn how to make shitty panos. Because that's what we were all doing once, until we became good at it. And that's what is going to turn our tiny niche into something significant.
Sorry for the rant but seriously guys, I don't want to be alone making some obscure art with a tiny audience, patching nadirs that no one is going to see. But I have a feeling that many of you will do exactly that.