Google Spotlight Stories arrives on iOS – beautiful, 360-degree, immersive animations


There aren’t too many cool apps that launch first on Android, but Google Spotlight Stories is one. It plays sweet, animated stories using a mix of 2D and 3D imagery – the cool part being that you can ‘look around’ the scene simply by rotating your phone.

Immerse yourself in a world of storytelling made just for mobile. Engineers and critically-acclaimed filmmakers are bringing stories to life using the latest advances in mobile technology. Using 3D and 2D animation, 360° spherical cinema-quality video, sound sphere audio and sensor fusion techniques, the screen is now a window into a story that unfolds all around you. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again. It’s a little different each time. Google Spotlight Stories is your mobile movie theatre.

There’s some heavy-duty talent behind the creation of the stories, the debut story Windy Days being created by former Pixar animators, and Help by Justin Lin, director of The Fast and the Furious … 

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The tech behind it all was developed by Motorola’s Advanced Technology And Products division, acquired by Google in 2011 – the reason it launched first on the Moto X.

The app, and its stories, are a free download from iTunes – but Google hints that it may plan to charge for the stories at some point, so grab them for free while you can (if you’re using an iPad, select ‘iPhone only’ in the App Store or it won’t show up). You can watch the 2013 promo video for original Moto X launch below.

Via TechCrunch

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  1. 89p13 - 8 years ago

    “There aren’t too many cool apps that launch first on Android, but Google Spotlight Stories is one.”

    WOW – That’s one hell of a lead!

    I did follow your advice and download the app and the movies. I really must be look like an old coot who has lost his mind as I hold my iPad in the air and spin about – but, who cares? It is really an impressive new technology and quite a change from passively sitting and moving only my finger across the screen!

    Thank you, Ben.

    • 89p13 - 8 years ago

      On the App Store, you have to select “iPhone Only” to find it if you’re using an iPad. It took a while to figure that one out.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 8 years ago

        Thanks for that – I’ve noted it in the piece.

  2. fakeycakemaker - 8 years ago

    Hmmmmm, doesn’t seem to want to download any stories on my 6+. Anyone else had any luck?

    • 89p13 - 8 years ago

      I’ve been able to download the 4 stories without any problems on my 6+. Possibly a low memory situation?

      Good luck.

  3. 2is1toomany - 8 years ago

    I had this on my Moto X and it was so annoying having the character pop out of no where and start crawling around my screen. For a minute, I thought I’d been hacked…

  4. gshenaut - 8 years ago

    This is a great technology. I found that it helps to have only one story loaded at a time (probably superstitious on my part, but things seemed to work better that way). Also, the program appears to get confused if you change away from it while it is downloading and installing a story. It works best if you let it finish downloading and installing before doing anything else.

  5. sar2607 - 8 years ago

    Just checked it out, the wind story. Very cool indeed!!

    It would be really cool if Google managed to incorporate Google drive into this app (somehow by making us sign into our google accounts before using the app). That way we could save the stories in the cloud without having to use up our phone memories. Don’t know if and how this would work, but pretty sure people at Google can figure it out ;)

  6. Marco-Lucian Becking - 8 years ago

    This app is really great and I can’t wait to see all the different movies people can create. However, every time I try to download the story ‘help’, I receive a message telling me “Download error – Download_error_space_Descn”
    Anyone knows what is this all about? Can it be fixed?


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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