Google Street View goes indoors

Google Inc will bring indoor business photos into its Street View service. The pilot project will allow users to view inside various businesses from around the world.

Businesses, including shops, hotels and restaurants, can be involved with the process, although big-brand chains such as hospitals and lawyer’s offices have been excluded for the time-being.

The new extension will invite businesses with high search hits to participate and submit images, or allow photos to be taken by Google photographers. The images will coincide with the search giant’s 360-degree exterior imagery already on offer. This creates a new way to market and improve participating retailer’s presence.

Cities that are involved with the upgrade include London, Paris and some cities in Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Australia.

A company spokesman said: “Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence.”

However, the existing service has prompted complaints from people who claim the technology will intrude on businesses and provide no privacy. Google say the scheme is on a ‘completely voluntary basis.’

"We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery," the spokesman said.

To learn more about how marketers, brands and businesses are taking advantage of the latest developments in social media and related technology, visit http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/northamerica on 1-2 November in New York, or http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/europe in London on 27th-28th March 2012.

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