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Google Maps to Extend Streetview to Photos Inside Stores

Gordon Kelly

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Google Maps to Extend Streetview to Photos Inside Stores

Here's one to get the privacy advocates jumping up and down...

Google has announced a pilot scheme to extend its popular (and controversial) StreetView service in Google Maps by including photography of business interiors.

"When customers are searching for the right local business, the setting, facilities, ambiance, merchandise, layout, or decor can be important factors in choosing where to go," explained Arjun Raman, engineering project manager on Google Maps. "If you want to find the perfect romantic restaurant for your anniversary dinner, you’ll want to find a place that has the right atmosphere. Or if you need to find a new gym, you’ll probably want to see what sort of equipment and amenities they offer. Place Pages currently feature images from business owners and third-party sources, but we wanted to supplement those with additional photos taken by Google photographers to provide consumers with more ways to get a sense of what awaits them when they step through the door of a business."

Contentious as this might be, Google is taking a number of logical steps with its approach. Firstly it will work directly with each local business owner to arrange a time to do the photo shoot - there's no ambush with a cameraphone. Secondly along with pictures of layout, facilities and merchandise it will also add shots of the storefront, accessibility information and menus (if applicable) as well as including business opening hours, rating decals and credit cards accepted. Thirdly, this will be done at no cost to the store owner. Test shots are shown above and below.

Google says it is currently running a trial of this service in 30 cities around the US, Australia and Japan. Restaurants, cafes, hotels, spas, salons, gyms and retail stores are its focus for now and interested store owners can apply at the link below.

Naturally enough there will be further outrage from some about the idea of further Google 'snooping', but store interiors are places open to the public and I do think it could prove handy and also provide a consistency of experience to the somewhat hit and miss approach of user uploads in Google Places.

Google may be on the path to world domination and history may prove this to be the tipping point, but I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt on this.

Links:

Google Blog Post

Google Business Photos Application Page

jopey

April 23, 2010, 4:12 am

Google is turning the entire world into "Myst"

Lantic

April 23, 2010, 11:30 am

Shopping is tough enough at the best of times, let alone now having to dodge the Googlemobile with its bulbous camera as it traverses the aisles of retail Britain!

mark

April 23, 2010, 12:06 pm

As this is to be done with the help of the store I have no problem.


I also reckon street view is great when house hunting etc. Have a look before you go, & if the neighbours look a tip you don't even need to go & see!


Of course, with the recent plane chaos one could even go on holiday & stroll by the sea, without leaving your desk; wouldn't that please your employer!

Pendejo Sin Nombre

April 23, 2010, 1:18 pm

Well, it was Eric Schmidt who recently said 'internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide' - something to remember when the Street View car trundles past your house and logs your WLAN details. Not that I can't see a possible use for general geo-location purposes but I can also understand why, when found out, the German government said WTF!

Aaronius

April 23, 2010, 1:29 pm

Privacy violation. Next they'll copyright a picture of YOU doing YOUR JOB in YOUR OWN place.... dont like that idea at all.

Tariq Pugh

April 23, 2010, 1:50 pm

This could be a really useful tool for shops and shoppers, particularly if shops can easily update their "shop fronts" to show off new items / menus / advertise sales etc. Particularly for small/new stores with no website.





Google seemingly can't fail to amaze me right now. I have an Android phone, my calendar and phonebook live in the Cloud, I can turn-by-turn navigate around my 1-bed flat... I fear we have a new Cult on our hands!

smog

April 23, 2010, 1:51 pm

So it's free of charge to shop owners..... for now. Let's see how popular it becomes. If everyone starts to use this to decide where to shop Google could have a nice little earner as shops will feel compelled to sign up and I'm sure Google would suddenly decide to start charging! A charge which would presumably be passed on to consumers....

PGrGr

April 23, 2010, 1:56 pm

I'd far rather more overbearing and domineering companies had Google's approach. Obviously, no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors, but Google seems to keep as many doors open as their business strategy can allow.

Ala Miah

April 23, 2010, 2:14 pm

FAT, LAZY, OBEISTY PEOPLE = BLAME GOOGLE





Go to the actual shops and check out the clothes/shoes whatever it is! Not only will you enjoy the weather but you will get that all important exercise too!

Tariq Pugh

April 23, 2010, 4:11 pm

@Aka Miah - Whoa there, pickle! Frankly, it's lazy to blame your lack of exercise on technology. Surely the aim of this feature is to get people to visit shops that they normally wouldn't (for example, because it's a longer walk away).





C'mon, those people that would use this as excuse not to leave the house already buy their XXXL t-shirts and 42" waist jeans from Tesco Direct!

Corzair

April 23, 2010, 4:47 pm

@Aka Miah


What if your Disabled and just need to check out Access?


Actually just thinking about it your comment doesn't make any sense at all!


Whats privacy concerns got to do with being LAZY exactly?


struth...

kdot

April 23, 2010, 4:49 pm

lol...





@lantic: you might want to read the article again.





@Ala: How often do you think the pics will be updated. I really doubt they are going to have someone in every morning or after every stock delivery.





@Smog: I dont see them charging, does not make sense. Google's business approach is not to charge, it's to be indespensible so that it can rake in the ad revenue. If everything you do on the web goes through google than they are already well paid, and for what they do charge the free alternative gives you loads, for example: Gmail, check the storage, google sites, 10 gb of free webspace, google analytics (nice push to adwords), docs, etc etc.

Castalan

April 23, 2010, 6:24 pm

I wonder if Google navigation is accurate enough to guide me up and down the isles using the streetview images ...





"in 3 metres turn left at the baked bean mountain - then immediately right by the corned beef - you will then have reached your destination at the beer counter"

Lantic

April 23, 2010, 10:12 pm

@kdot: aisle 7, you can pick up a sense of humour - try it out, you might like it.

Frankf9d

April 24, 2010, 6:03 am

I hope they extend this to pubs.

chrismbroome

April 25, 2010, 4:29 pm

I thought the Google navigation with street view was crazy enough and cool enough. Street view is a really cool technology, just log-in to a street and go walk up it and find a number of a place. I don't even have to bother going to visit it anymore, its funny. What you can do are endless these days, but are we becoming to fat to can't be bothered nation :-) or is face-book just spoiling the good old fashion face to face conversation.





Google if it makes you happy and makes money just do it, because in this day or age you have to keep changing as most people just cant be bothered to do it the old way.

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