A new Google Maps feature announced recently by the search engine giant, Google Business Photos is an interactive new way of bringing your business to life and showcasing your business location inside and out. It’s basically a virtual panoramic 360-degree tour – a la Google Maps Street View – that existing and potential customers can take when they find your business listing on search results, Google Maps, or Google+ Local.
This time, instead of having only the ability to see your business storefront (from Street View), people can now use Business Photos to check out the layout, décor, and details of your business interior.
Check out the video below:
What Google Business Photos Means to Your Business
Google Business Photos allows you to stand out on search engine results pages, enhance your Google+ Local listing, and view images of your business location on Google Maps.
More importantly, the new feature gives you a great opportunity to connect with customers and show – not just tell – what it’s really like inside your restaurant, café, bookstore, retail shop, gym, salon, daycare center, or whatever your business is. Now you can give people a better sense of what the atmosphere inside is like, or show off your cool new interior design elements and artworks, or give a glimpse of what’s on offer in your display racks.
Business Photos is definitely ideal for business owners who, by nature of what they do or offer, are able to give customers a great visual experience: restaurants, toy stores, art galleries, local tourist attractions, fashion stores, spas, and retail shops, to name a few.
Addressing individual users, Google Maps Business Photos product manager Shailesh Nalawadi said, “From restaurants to retail shops to beauty salons and more, these interior Business Photos on Google Maps give you the feeling of being there, and the comfort of knowing what to expect when you arrive. Whatever the occasion, they can help you find a place with the right ambiance for a dinner date in Orlando, Florida, a resort in Canary Islands, Spain, or even preview an antique store in Austin, Texas.”
Where do the Business Photos come from?
If you think your business will benefit greatly from having panoramic 360-degree imagery, you’re probably interested to find out where exactly the photos are going to come from.
First, you have to know that there’s always the option of uploading your own Business Photos on Google+ Local. (Check out our recent Google+ Local post for more tips and tricks.) It’s not necessary for you to have 360-degree panoramics, but do make sure you upload professional, high-quality images for the photos to be effective.
The launch of Business Photos also includes the start of a self-service program designed to connect local businesses with professional photographers. Google has set up a separate page – Business Photos Trusted Photographers – for those who want to reach out to the business owners and work with them to photograph the business location’s space. The pool of photographers – independent professionals contracted by Google – will then be trained and certified to stitch high-quality still photographs into 360-degree views using panoramic camera technology.
Right now, Trusted Photographers are active (and waiting to photograph businesses’ interior space!) in the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, and the UK. So if you’re interested to have a Trusted Photographer do a shoot in your business location, you can sign in to Google+ Local and, from this list, choose any photographer in your area. If there’s no Trusted Photographer in your area, you can request a photo shoot and Google will let you know if and when a Trusted Photographer becomes available.
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