Swivel Viewer, an open source embeddable album viewer

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A while back, we noticed that lots of sites were starting to show 360 degree views of their products.

So a few months ago we added a feature to Picasa Web Albums that lets you flip through the photos in an album in “Full Screen View” or “Slideshow” mode by dragging left and right on the current photo. This works especially well if you put an object on a turntable, but it also works fine for other albums, like our featured shots from the 2010 Winter games.

The embedded album viewer also supports this feature:

So any albums you've embedded already support swiveling.

If you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out
the Swivel Viewer site at, where you'll find an open source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning. Alternatively, you can go directly to the page about hosting your own viewer, or check out these other albums from the gallery:

We also posted tips on how to take your own 360 views, and even some sketches for our experimental high-volume object scanner:

Swivel viewers are fundamentally simple, but it’s tricky to communicate to the end user what they can do. I actually used the viewer for several weeks without realizing I could shift+drag to pan around while zoomed in! So we’re excited to see what UI enhancements you can come up with.

By Jason Holt, Google Street View Team