Not many people can honestly say they have never used Google’s Street View to virtually “walk” up and down their own street, take a peek at their dream neighborhoods, or snoop around for possible dining or entertainment destinations. Now Google is allowing users to take things one step further by virtually “opening the doors” for local businesses through the Google Street View | Trusted program. Click an image to give it a whirl. Left click and drag to move around the scene, click the arrows to move around the room…
Google Street View | Trusted allows Street View style technology to come inside local businesses that opt to participate. This technology allows businesses to feature an immersive 360 degree virtual tour of their location on Google. The tour can sometimes appear next to Google’s search results when someone performs a search of the business name. Online searchers will have the ability to virtually “walk” through the establishment from the comfort of their own homes or on mobile devices. These Google powered virtual tours can also be embedded on websites and within web content. They’re best experienced for that “ah-hah” moment where you immediately see the value and understand how useful it can be.
Local brick and mortar businesses can bring their location to life on Google Maps and Google Search pages by showcasing their products and highlighting their interior decor. These tours can also be a great way to garner a trusting relationship between a business and it’s clients or customers by showing them what’s behind closed doors.
Businesses that participate in the program work directly with a local service provider that is specially trained and certified by Google. These providers are known as “Trusted Photographers” and within Google’s culture are affectionately called “TIPS” (Trusted Independent Photographers). They coordinate a quick photo shoot with the business, normally during slow or non-operating business hours when possible. However, some business owners elect to do the shoot while the business is busy but due to privacy policies any people who appear in the shoot will need to have their faces blurred (as well as license plates on any vehicles visible in the virtual tour).
The photos for the virtual tours are taken using special equipment including a DSLR camera that rests on a tripod that rotates on a special scientific pano head. Multiple photos are taken at each site and the tripod is moved around the business until the entire area has been covered sufficiently in a manner similar to how a real world visitor would move through the space. Once all the pictures have been taken, the Trusted Photographer handles all the post-production work, including photo-stitching the panoramic photographs into spherical 360 degree views and linking the different “panos” (also referred to as spins) to one another to create a path thru the business that we publish on the business’s behalf to Google Maps and Google Search pages. Business owners have the option to also embed the virtual tour on their website.
Participating in the Google Street View | Trusted program seems like a no-brainer for most local businesses looking for effective ways to shine on the web