Google Spotlight Stories, a mobile app featuring immersive, 360-degree animated films originally developed by Motorola ahead of its 2011 Google acquisition, has now made its way to iOS devices. The app had been available on Android phones since fall 2013, when Google first introduced the new mobile storytelling format to consumers.
The app itself is intended for entertainment purposes, as it offers stories built using 3D and 2D animations, 360-degree spherical “cinema-quality” video, sound sphere audio and “sensor fusion techniques,” explains Google. In short, what that means is that viewers can look around inside the animated content by moving their body and the phone to see different parts or angles of the story taking place.
Basically, the app can take advantage of the device’s sensors like its gyroscope and accelerometer in order to offer an immersive viewing experience. However, it doesn’t let end users create these sorts of movies for themselves.
One of the original animations featured in Spotlight Stories when it debuted was a film called “Windy Days” by ex-Pixar moviemakers, which appeared on Moto X phones when the Android app rolled out. This, as well as the other content previously available on Android, is also available in the new iOS app.
The app includes films like “Duet” from Glen Keane, “Buggy Night” from ATAP, and “Help” by “The Fast and the Furious” director Justin Lin. What’s interesting is that this latter movie, unlike the others, is noted as being “free for a limited time,” which indicates that Google may be planning to sell movies through this service in the future.
The technology for making these artistic mini-movies was first developed by Motorola Mobility’s Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) moonshot division, but Google continued to fund its development in the years that followed. However, because the app was originally intended for Motorola devices (like the Moto X), it didn’t immediately support a wide range of Android devices when it launched. Some limitations on Android continue today, as the Google Play version still indicates that Spotlight Stories is “not yet compatible with all smartphones.”
However, the new iOS release will work on any device running iOS 8.0 or higher, notes Google.
The app is a free download, here on iTunes.