Google has just announced a new addition to Google Maps – the ability to see 360 degree views of the interiors at select businesses. First mentioned by Google as an upcoming feature a week or so ago, it is now live in the United States, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia.
What Does It Look Like?
Google used the example of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville – this is their Places page. On that page, you’ll see the regular streetview preview, with a little arrow included: Hover over the arrow, and it says “Store Front.” Click it and you jump to a preview of the store front, with another arrow – which when clicked changes the preview to “Look Inside.” If you visit the store front page, it’ll bring you to a regular street view image, with an arrow pointing forward. Clicking the arrow will bring you to the look inside view. It’s a neat feature, allowing someone who has never been to your business to get a feel for what it is like to step inside.
Getting 360 Views of Your Business
Having a 360 view on Google Maps should be beneficial for most companies – so how do you make it happen? Right now, Google is only creating 360 views from their own pictures, ie, those through the Google Business Photos program (where they actually send a photographer to your location). This is only available in select cities, so I would guess those are the only places we’ll see 360 images for now. Google did state previously that they may create 360 images from owner-submitted photos at some point.
Google only picks businesses in certain categories for the Business Photos program. These are from the “most searched for categories.” In order to have 360 photos show up for your company, you’ll need to apply for Business Photos, even if you’ve already uploaded great photos of your own. If you are not in the right category, another option would be to take a video showing a 360 view of your business, and uploading that to your Google Places page. It’s not quite the same, but is another way to showcase your interior.