What is Google Tour Creator?
Tour Creator is a part of Google’s Augmented and Virtual Reality resources that includes the huge library of Street View images that you may already know. These tools will allow you (and your students) to build immersive tours incorporating almost any location that Google has recorded using Street View, as well as 360° images you can take yourself.
The tours, which can include text, regular JPG and GIF images, and audio, are similar to those created for Google Expeditions. In fact, your tours can be shared through the Expeditions app.
Here are some examples to explore that will give you a good idea of a tour:
Yellowstone National Park – Created by a student, each scene includes three points of interest.
The Deported: Life Beyond The Border – Although this may be a controversial topic, this is a good example of how a tour could be used to make current events real for your students.
Cornell University – Many colleges and universities are creating virtual tours of their campuses. Your students could do the same thing for their school or community.
Journey to Jamestown – Although this is a pretty simple tour, it does show how historical stories can be told using 360° images.
Biome Virtual World Tour – Google has taken their Street View cameras to many places far off of “streets” and this is an example of a tour using those images. It appears to be a school assignment in which students had to include specific types of information.
Highlights of Ancient Rome – This is my own example of a tour, one that is constantly being tweaked as I learn more about what this tool can do.
America’s National Parks – Another simple example I created, visiting six different parks. As you can see below, tours can be embedded in a web page, including Google Sites.
You can find many more examples by going to Google’s Poly site (which also houses 3D images created with other tools), click on the pancake menu in the upper left, and choose Tours. You can also use the search box to find tours on particular topics or browse through the topic listings under the pancake menu.
A Few Things To Know Before Starting
Although Tour Builder seems to work well in the Safari and Firefox browsers, Google recommends using their Chrome browser on a Mac or Windows computer. I have only tested this on a Mac running OS 10.15 Catalina so your milage with Windows or earlier versions of the Mac OS may vary.
Tour Builder also works in the Chrome browser on a tablet and on Chromebooks. It’s possible to build or edit a tour on a smartphone but I don’t recommend it.
You also need a Google account, which is where your work will be saved and shared. If you want to use a Google EDU account, check with your administrator to see if Tour Building has been enabled within your domain.
Tours are automatically saved as Draft as you edit. Once you’re ready, they can be published as either Public or Unlisted.
Public tours can be found by anyone by searching the Poly site. Unlisted sites are not placed in Poly but are available to anyone who has the direct link.
Once published, tours can be viewed in any browser on any device. The easiest way to allow a user to view your tour is to send them the direct link provided by Tour Creator.
Let’s Get Started
In the rest of this tutorial, you’ll learn about…