Best Google Street View virtual tour software: Panoskin vs GoThru

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Best Street View virtual tour software: Gothru vs Panoskin

One of the best ways to reach a wide audience with your virtual tour is to publish it on Google Street View.  Normally, creating a Google Street View virtual tour can be a bit tedious but there are software that are designed to make it much easier.  Two of the leading ones are Panoskin and GoThru.  Which one is better?  In this post, we ask a Google Street View specialist, Eysteinn Guðni, who runs the YouTube channel Street View Eysteinn.  Eysteinn has over 1,200 Street View photos and over 25 kilometers of blue lines that have received over 5.3 million views.

INTRODUCTION

Two of the most popular software to publish virtual tours to Street View are Panoskin and GoThru. There are other software that can publish to Street View, such as Pano2VR, 3DVista and others, but these are unique as they are built specifically with Street View in mind.  Both of them also offer you to host the tour on their server (separate from Google Street View), but in this article I wanted to focus primarily on publishing to Street View. I will go over 10 aspects; Pricing, Sign up Process, Ease of Use, Speed, Removing Tripod, Blurring, Keyboard Shortcuts, Customer Care and Additional Features. For each I will evaluate which one is better and then at the end hopefully we will have a winner. Let’s begin:

By the way, if you want to see this article in video format I do have a video.

Pricing:
Panoskin has a free plan where you can publish one tour per month for free, though with limitations. If you pay $20 a month you can publish 20 tours and you get features like blurring faces, adding logo over your tripod and more. You can try these features with a 10 day free trial. With GoThru you have a “pay as you go” option where you simply pay $10 for each tour you publish. If you pay $10 per month you can publish 2 tours per month and additional tours will cost $10. The best value for money is $23.95 where you publish 10 tours per month and additional tours cost $2. Both plans have pros and cons, perhaps you would like to start with Panoskin for it’s free plan and then move over to GoThru for it’s lower monthly fee of $10.

Conclusion: One point for each

Sign Up Process:
Panoskin has a traditional sign up process where you choose a username and password, confirm the email and then when you log in for the first time you need to connect your account with your Google account. GoThru goes a quicker route where you can sign in directly with your Google account. This might be trivial since you are only going to do this once but I still thought it should be mentioned.

Conclusion: GoThru gets a point

Ease of Use:
All virtual tour software have a learning curve, but I must say I find Panoskin relatively easy to get into. Things are laid out nicely and with a little bit of patience you will be up and running in no time. GoThru is a little bit more complicated, things are not as intuitive. But luckily with complexity comes flexibility, which we will cover in just a moment. And if you feel overwhelmed I have a tutorial that explains the steps in detail. By the way, I also have a tutorial on Panoskin.

Conclusion: Panoskin gets a point

Here is my Panoskin tutorial:

Here is my GoThru tutorial:

Speed:
Panoskin has something called automatic aligning which tries to predict the orientation of a panorama based on the previews panorama. In my experience this speeds up the process a lot. On the other hand if you need to do any blurring of faces or license plate numbers that will slow you down. When I did the tutorial videos it evened out and both tours ended up taking me about 50 minutes to build.

Conclusion: One point for each

Removing Tripod:
It’s a good idea to remove your tripod from all professional street view virtual tours. You can use an editing software like Photoshop or Affinity but a much easier and faster way is to use the built in nadir patching in your publishing software. In Panoskin you can select to put a logo or do a “stretched blur”. Then you choose the size of the patch from 5% up to 20%. There is no preview of how big the tripod actually is so you will be doing a bit of trial and error. I suggest starting with 5% and working your way up if it’s not big enough. Then once you know the size of your tripod this becomes a very fast and easy step. In GoThru you can also put a logo or “stretched blur”, but you get the benefit of previewing what you are doing. Additionally GoThru has a clone tool where you can copy parts of the floor onto the tripod. I prefer GoThru since you can preview what you are doing and the clone stamp tool is nice (though I don’t use it very often).

Conclusion: GoThru gets a point

Blurring:
It’s important to blur faces and license plate numbers before you publish to Street View. In GoThru you do that in the same place where you build your tour. You zoom in to the person or object you want to blur and drag a box over it. When you publish to Street View GoThru will generate the blur. It is limited to a box, I would prefer to have an option for a circle. In Panoskin you select an image you want to blur, it will process that image and then you can apply a blur. It’s very flexible, you have a brush that you can paint over people and objects in any shape. The problem is that it takes so much time to process each image. On top of that there is another process of applying the blur. Panoskin makes it so that I never use it’s blurring tool and would rather blur faces in Photoshop before importing to Panoskin.

Conclusion: GoThru gets a point

Keyboard Shortcuts:
Both software have excellent keyboard shortcuts. For example using the arrows and ‘F’ for navigating makes your workflow much faster on both software. GoThru has the advantage of having an undo command. But over all they are very similar.

Conclusion: One point for each

Customer Care:
In a perfect world you wouldn’t need customer care since everything just works. And I haven’t needed to use customer care for ether of them that much. Their excelent youtube channels played a big role in not needing to contact them all that much. But in the rare case that I had to email ether of them they have both been quick to respond.

Conclusion. One point for each

Additional Features:
There are a few things that I would call additional features that one software has that the other one doesn’t. GoThru horizon correction tool where it will automatically look for horizontal lines to correct the horizon. Also it has the ability to connect multiple tours together, something I featured in a video few weeks ago. Panoskin on the other hand has the auto align feature where it will analyze the picture and try to orientate it correctly based on the previews picture. Something that makes building your tour a lot faster. Gothru gets the point because I actually do connect multiple tours together regularity. The auto align feature is nice but I get the same results with GoThru even if it takes me a bit longer. If there are any features I missed that you love in ether of these software’s let me know in the comments.

Conclusion: GoThru gets a point

Blue Line:
Both companies have created separate software to create blue lines from 360 video files. Panoskin has TrailBlazer that works with GoPro Fusion and GoThru has StreetBuilder that works with basically any 360 camera. I will be testing both very soon and I’ll tell you the results in a future video. Until then nether one gets a point.

Conclusion: Zero points

Other software:
I think it’s important to mention that there are other software that can publish to Street View. I’m working on a full tutorial for Pano2VR that will come out soon. In the mean time you can refer to this chart where I go over some key features of each software.

CONCLUSION

Counting the points together the final results are: Panoskin with 5 points and GoThru with 8. GoThru is fast and reliable and I’ve noticed that they keep adding new features. Congratulations to GoThru.

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