App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Sprayscape App Poster Image
Imperfect VR-themed app for phones still amuses.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not with educational intent.

Ease of Play

Easy to grasp and use. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sprayscape is a camera-focused app that simulates a VR experience on Android phones. While it falls far short of actual VR, it's much more accessible than other offerings and doesn't require a special headset to see the results. As there's no content on the app itself, it's safe for kids, who will enjoy taking 360-degree photos of the world around them. It's possible to share creations from the app via a link but only with a Google account, so parents may not want to sign in if younger kids are using it. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

With SPRAYSCAPE users can take 360-degree pictures by pointing their phone at the area around them and tapping the screen multiple times as they revolve. From there, they can view these quasi-VR shots or share them with friends via a link if they have a Google account. If a user does sign in with an account, creations are stored in Google Drive, where you can delete them. Shots can be viewed either on other Android phones or using a VR headset such as Google Cardboard or Samsung's Gear VR. 

Is it any good?

The aim of this photo app seems to be to make a much simpler form of VR accessible to all, but its uses and quality are a bit limited. Putting together a 360-degree photo with Sprayscape is very easy to do. The problem is that there aren't a lot of times when that's really worth the effort. Even when one of those times comes along, the resulting photo looks stitched together, often with warped features. As a result, it's an app that kids might love for its unique qualities, but parents likely will abandon it after a few uses. Ultimately, it's a one-trick pony app whose trick really isn't all that impressive. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about creative expression and ways to showcase your individuality. How does this app let you be creative? What are its limitations?

  • Talk about what's appropriate to take pictures of and what's not. 

  • Discuss virtual reality and the forms it's starting to take. What's cool about it? What are some possible concerns?

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: October 12, 2016
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Publisher: Google Creative Lab
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Varies with device
  • Last updated: November 15, 2016

Our editors recommend

For kids who love photography and creativity

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