As a freelancer, I work in different places around Greater Boston each week. When I first started out in photography, I used to keep a book of maps in my car in case I had to navigate to an unfamiliar area to grab lunch or supplies while I was on location. Printed maps didn’t show current businesses, so I’d pick a busy looking section and try my luck.
Nowadays I type in the type of service I’m looking for into Google Maps on my phone, and can see all my options in a given area plus reviews, hours of operation, and contact information. I love trying out new restaurants and supporting local businesses–and I hate driving around in circles, so for me it’s a total win.
For small businesses, a Google Places listing is a great way to market to level the playing field against bigger chains. To make it even easier for customers to find your business, Google is bringing together Street View with 360˚ Tours of the interiors of businesses. Your Inside View virtual tour can be seen on your local business listing, found with Google Search and on Google Maps. You’ll also be able to embed them on your website and social media.
1.) How can Business View help my business?
When potential customers search for your business by name on Google, they will see the images displayed directly on the search results page. These panoramic images will also be published on Google Places pages, Google Maps and other Google properties and give customers a better sense of the layout, decor and beauty of your business interior. Using easy-to-use html snippets or Maps APIs, you can also link to these images from your own business website, attracting potential customers who visit your website too.
2.) Why are businesses being photographed and how can I see the tours?
Google Trusted Photographers take high-quality still photographs that will be stitched into 360-degree views using Google panoramic camera technology. As a business owner, you can also upload your own photographs to Google by signing into Google Places. You’ll be able to see the photos and 360-degree panoramic imagery directly on Google search results and on your Google Places page.
3.) What will the Trusted Photographer do that I can’t do myself?
These Trusted Photographers are independent contractors who have been trained and certified by Google to produce high quality panoramic images of building interiors, accommodating for common challenges such as low lighting and tight spaces. The photographers are also certified to take pictures using Google approved technical lenses and rotating camera turrets that, once uploaded to Google’s processing pipelines by photographers, will be transformed into 360-degree panoramic imagery using sophisticated image stitching, HDR, image matching and other technologies to produce these panoramic tours.
1.) How long will the photo shoot take?
In most cases, a photo shoot will take about 1-2 hours, but this varies depending on the size of your business.
2.) What do I need to do to prepare my business ahead of the photo shoot?
You are welcome to clean and tidy things up prior to the photography session, but remember that the aim of the photographs is to show customers what they would expect to see if they visited your business on a normal day.
3.) Which areas of my businesses will be photographed?
Photo shoots will include the main customer-facing areas of your business. You can work with the photographer to determine what areas of your businesses you would like to highlight, or even exclude from the shoot. Once again, the goal of the photographs is to show customers what they would expect to see if they visited your business on a normal day.
4.) Will the photo shoot disrupt my business operations?
We know you’re running a business, and that’s why we designed photo shoots to be as non-disruptive as possible. We’ll will work around your schedule to ensure that photos are taken at a convenient time for you and your business. Although photo shoots are non-disruptive and should not interfere with your normal business operations, it’s a good idea to let your customers know photography is in process and to avoid being in view of the camera, whenever possible.
5.) Will people be included in the photo shoot?
Because we want to keep the focus of the photos on the inside of your business, we aim to have as few people in the shots as possible. During the shoot, the photographer may put up a sign and alert customers and employees about to be photographed. As the business owner it would be your responsibility to notify your employees and customers that the photo shoot is taking place.
1.) What measures are in place to ensure privacy and legal compliance?
Photo shoots will exclude any areas of your businesses which you would not like to feature. In addition, we will always alert customers and employees before a photo is taken, to uphold their privacy. All panoramic imagery will be processed by Google’s state-of-the-art blurring technology to blur out faces of any employees or customers who appear in the imagery. At any time you may request additional blurring or takedown of entire images through the Report a Problem link at either the bottom of the pano image, or within your Google Places page.
2.) Who from my business can give legal permission for the photo shoot?
You must have the proper authority to allow a Trusted Photographer access to the business premises to collect photographs and to subsequently allow Google to use those photographs in its products and services. People with this authority include the owner of the business or a director or manager with the designation to make those commitments on behalf of the business. Please note that by agreeing to the terms and conditions and the Google Terms of Service, before your photo shoot, you are confirming that you have the authority to make that commitment.
3.) Will Google be using the imagery in other applications besides Google Places pages?
Google may use these images in other products and services in new ways that will make your business information more useful and accessible to users. For example, further integration with Google Maps will allow customers to find these images easily from the 360-degree Street View imagery of nearby roads for many locations.
4.) Do I own the photographs taken by a Trusted Photographer?
Yes, you will own the photos taken by Trusted Photographers once you have paid for this service and the shoot is completed. Keep in mind that by signing the agreement, you will also license the use of the photos to Google who will publish the imagery.
5.) Can I review the photos after they are taken and before they go live on my Google Places page?
Because the technology takes individual unstitched and unreviewed images that need considerable processing after they are uploaded by the photographer, to produce the attractive ‘walk- through’ experience, you will not be able to review the images before they are uploaded to Google.
6.) Can I blur the images or take down all panoramas from by business listing?
Yes, if you see a major issue you can ask us to blur some areas in each of the panoramic images. You may also ask us to take down all panoramas. At this time we are unable to take down individual panoramas. To request blurring or takedown click on the “Report a Problem” link on the specific images where you see issues and provide the requested information. Please note that the blurring/removal process may take several days.
7.) Could my photos be removed for other reasons?
Yes, your photos might be removed if they are found to violate the Google photo policy. Although all business images undergo quality review before being uploaded, some photos may still be reported as inappropriate and later removed. The complete photo policy can be found here.
8.) If I’m not the business owner, can I request the removal of a photo?
Similar to our policy for Street View imagery, our “Report a Problem” tool enables users to request further blurring of images that feature the user in the 360-degree imagery. Users can also request the removal of images that display inappropriate content, and business owners can ask us to remove 360-degree images taken by Trusted Photographers through the “Report a problem” link or the “Report inappropriate photo” link for feature photos.