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Kuula is a free 360° photo sharing platform and is the first competitor of VeeR, which at the moment is the leader in this sector.

Currently you can also upload regular photos, in addition to the 360, and you can create interactive virtual tours.

All the basic functions are free for everyone (photo upload, sharing, various settings), but more features, including Virtual Tours, custom logo, hotspots, can be unlocked with the Pro plan.

I mean, kuula is a bit like an instagram of 360 photos. Everyone can have a free "basic" account on which you can upload 360 photos (but also normal photos) with a maximum size of about 16000x8000 in jpeg/png/gif format. And you can upload up to 100 a month. There is not a maximum limit of photos in total, but there is a limit of 100 photos per month, which is still a fairly high limit.

Obviously, the limit disappears with the Pro plan.

Each photo has its own description that contains title, description and hashtags.

I'm not very fan of this thing because the hashtags could be put in a separate section, maybe so you can select the ones used recently. Not that it is a problem to copy and paste from a photo already uploaded, but if you have to change or add, you must write everything by hand.

For free accounts there is the possibility to put the photo public or save it as a draft because the "unlisted" function is only available for those who have kuula Pro.

For each 360° photo you can add stickers among those offered by kuula, normal photos and text.

 

The text is very customizable. It can be in 2D, 3D, with background or without background, you can decide the color of the text and the color of the background, and you can choose size, font, rotation and opacity.

 

This is a good thing. Personalization is important.

And then there are the hotspots (the ones I usually call triggers) which are the interactive elements whose function can be decided according to the need.

During the last update, was added the possibility to put a personalized icon.

This is very important for the creation of virtual tours, especially for those who do not intend to create simple tours. The customization of the icons opens up a lot of possibilities and allows you to create games, interactive entertainment and much more.

Each hotspot can have different settings:

It may have no action (leaving the icon without any function, which can be added later).

 

"Go To Another Post" function, used to switch to another photo. This is a very special function as it is possible to connect a photo from a Virtual Tour, to another photo belonging to another Virtual Tour. In this way it is possible to create a network of Tours whose parts can be modified and/or added separately without having to modify the entire structure.

 

"Open Link" function, which simply opens a link in a new window.

 

"Play Sound" function, which plays a user-uploaded audio file. Too bad for the 2MB limit. It is a pity that there is no interaction with the audio because the trigger has only the functions of Play/Stop and, consequently, every time the song is stopped and restarted, it starts again.

The only different interaction with the audio is when it is inserted in the virtual tour. It can be muted or left in play in background. You can not set audio levels or pause. On the audio level there is still a bit of work to do, but the audio, after all, is not very important.

"Card" function, allows you to add media to the photo and more.

 

It's composed by 4 parts, all optional, and may contain media, text, link and the link title.

Here kuula worked very well! In the media section you can insert a link that can be almost anything. It can be a YouTube video, a photo, but it can also be an HTML iframe or Javascript script code. Of those used to embed something on a site.

 

This feature allows you to insert a Virtual Tour (or even a single 360 photo) inside a photo (part of another Tour or not).

In short, a Tour inside a Tour. Inception who?

Below there's an example of a Virtual Tour embedded into a 360° photo.

In addition to this there is the possibility to add the flare deciding the shape, add filters and decide their intensity, decide the initial zoom of the photos and the degrees of the vertical aperture of the photo, ie the possibility or not to look up and down.

For 360° photos there is also the tiny planet effect with the possibility to set the initial view and whether to use the tiny planet as thumbnail or not.

In truth this function is also enabled for normal photos. I do not know why since it is completely useless to look at the "normal" photos in the tiny planet, but it can be done.

After uploading, there is the sharing and analytics section because kuula is very close to a kind of social network.

There are followers, followed, likes, comments, there is a home to scroll to look at the various photos, there is the search through the hashtags, you can watch featured contents or those with more likes, you can see normal photos or tours, in short there are many search filters to allow the user find what he is looking for, what he wants to see.

 

In truth VeeR is also a 360° social type, but it isn't very natural for me to navigate the app.

The sharing section allows you to share immediately after uploading the photo on facebook, twitter, reddit and more. You can take a snapshot of the photo or there is a link for direct sharing.

And then there's the embedding section which is why I prefer kuula to other sharing platforms. The embedding allows you to insert the photo or the tour in a website using javascript or HTML, and even here there is a lot of customization. You can set the height and width of the window, enable or disable the fullscreen button, enable or disable the zoom, enable or not the automatic rotation and the rotation direction, enable or not the gyroscope on mobile, HUD and its position. All this in the free version. In this case there will always be the kuula logo in a corner somewhere, because even the position of the logo can be decided by the user (and its size can be reduced so that it is not intrusive).

 

For those subscribing to a kuula PRO subscription, instead, it is possible to add an own logo or leave photos without a logo.

But obviously not everything is perfect.

 

I feel the absence of an app to watch and upload your 360 content. The mobile browser works well, but it is always a browser. The speed of scrolling in the browser is really embarrassing and, above all, the visitors who look at the contents from mobile, do not have the possibility to disable the gyroscope. As a result, every time the phone moves, the image also moves.

In 2018, there is a need for an app to watch content from. Also because, in my opinion, the browser view greatly limits the diffusion of the various contents.

 

The other problem is the management of tours.

Tours are separated from single photos, there is a dedicated section. But every single photo of each tour is uploaded to the single photo section. This creates confusion. So much confusion. Not only because the section is clogged with dozens of unlisted photos (because of course the tours are not made with 3 photos, at least there are 10 for each tour), but to make the tour somehow reachable, one of the photos of which the tour is composed must be made public. And finding it in the middle of all the mess, it's not very immediate.

This is because, at the moment, the overall privacy of the tour, is connected to each photo of which it is composed. In the sense that if at least one photo of the tour is "Unlisted", the entire tour becomes "Unlisted". To make the Tour public, you must PUBLIC ALL THE PHOTOS that compose it.

 

I do not agree with this. If I take a tour with 50 photos and I want to make it visible on my profile, it means that in the section of the photos I will have 50 photos in the middle of the single ones. It would be unpleasant as a thing, especially if it is not a standard virtual tour.

Imagine creating a treasure hunt with special hotspots. It would need dozens of photos. Making them all public would make the tour useless. But this also applies to a Virtual Tour of a store that you want to incorporate on the brand's website. Why should all photos be public individually? It would be much more logical to have the variable overall privacy of the tour. If I want to show the tour (and therefore the photos that compose it) on my profile, I make it public. Otherwise I put it "Unlisted" and I share it in private. And each photo remains automatically "Unlisted" as they would be visible by browsing the tour itself.

 

(I think this change needs a lot of work and a lot of time. I pointed this out to the kuula team and, personally, I hope they decide to separate things.)

Any final considerations?

 

Kuula has a lot of potential. The great freedom of personalization allows you to create what you want in the way you want. This is very important for those with special projects in mind.

 

Kuula Pro. Is it worth it?

 

If you're an occasional photographer, no. It's not worth it. You can upload your photos for free and share them anywhere.

If you plan to create virtual tours or you have large amounts of photos to upload, then yes. It's $ 12 a month which, compared to other platforms, is a very low price and allows you to create a lot. Also, sometimes, there are discounts on the Pro plan with which you can save even more.

Below there is the video I made about kuula, in case someone want to see more.

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