Basically these cameras are all made up of two spherical lenses and use stitching algorithms.
Ricoh Theta and Xiaomi Hardware
The Ricoh Theta cameras include the Theta S, Theta SC, and Theta V. The Theta V is the high end model with 4K, live streaming, and an additional surround microphone can be added for several hundred dollars more. The Theta SC is a reasonable 1080p which is also probably a good balance of quality video which also meets requirements for [Google StreetView 360] for extending Google Business listings.
For a camera with comparable or better images and video, better audio, though a lack of support for Google StreetView, the Xiaomi Mijia 3.5K Panorama is a great option.
Google Streetview Extensions to Google Business
There is a StreetView App which allows for viewing 360 images in StreetView, as well as contributing images to StreetView, usually walkthrough 360 images for Google Business Listings.
Kuula.co 360 Social Sharing
Kuula, a 360 Social Sharing site has a number of advantages, the best are embedding in Twitter, Facebook, G+, and websites so the 360 images are right in the photo stream (natively this cannot be done on Twitter), and also supporting virtual tours (as a set of 360 images).
Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube
Facebook and Flickr support 360 images, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube support 360 video. Some of these have an additional step for the upload:
- YouTube 360 Video Upload
- Facebook 360 Community Tools
- Twitter supports live 360 video via periscope, but who cares about Periscope anymore?
- Flickr, but who cares about Flickr anymore?
Instagram and 360 Content
As of 01 December 2017, it appears that Instagram does not yet support 360 images or video. However, check out the Theta360 Instagram Account to see how 360 images and video are being presented in the non-supported world.
WordPress Support for 360 Images and Video
WordPress has some native support for 360 media, but also there are plugins such as DImage 360. DImage 360 works with jpg images, which is the most portable format. For the web, these files can be resized to 1080p and compressed down to around 100kb.
Summary of 360 Photos and Video
While this is still very much a niche technology, there is enough development on consumer-grade equipment and social media and website support to make this more and more ubiquitous. Even without VR approaching the mainstream, the lowering of the cost and barriers to use make this interesting enough to gain momentum.