There is a lot more information about the Google programs on their web site. Have a look to the photo in my answer. You can shoot with any rig as long as it meets the specs of Google. Have a look to this page.
IVRPA - The International Virtual Reality Photography Association is an international association of photographers who create and produce 360° Panoramas and other Virtual Reality Content including 360° Video, 360° Virtual Tours, Gigapixel Panoramas, and more.
This website showcases both our members and VR Photography community enthusiasts, and serves as a central place for news and communication for the 360° VR industry.
Professional and amateur and 360° VR photographers are encouraged to Join IVRPA and participate on this website.