Google Street View Going Inside Stores?

Barry at SEL posts about a tip received from the owner of a NY shop called Oh Nuts. In essence the store said that Google came inside and took lots of pictures that will go up online and complement the exterior Street View images (“Store View”). All this was done with permission of course and probably didn’t cost the store anything.

According to Barry’s post:

I received a tip from a New York retailer named Oh Nuts, that Google came to their store to take pictures for a new Google Maps product named “Google Store Views.” I was told that they took pictures of the inside of the store, every 6 feet, in all directions. They also took pictures of products.

This may be a test or it may be the beginning of a broader effort and significant expansion of the Street View offering by Google (which would almost certainly extend into mobile). Everyscape does something similar but it charges businesses for interior views. Here is one of Everyscape’s interiors of the Sir Francis Drake hotel in SF:

Here is a picture capturing the Google photographer capturing the store interior. Barry has an additional shot on the SEL post:

What do you think? Consumers are going to be interested in interiors in many cases. But do you think that businesses will be interested in this sort of promotion on Google?

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23 Responses to “Google Street View Going Inside Stores?”

  1. Chris Silver Smith Says:

    I think should do this in large shopping malls before doing this in small stores.

    Also of interest: are they using GPS-enabled cameras?

    I know of quite a number of retail stores that are resistant to getting photographed — they don’t want competitors getting pix of their display layouts. Such stores would ask security to remove photographers.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Do you think they wouldn’t use GPS cameras? That would be a major oversight.

    Interesting re display issues. I agree that this would work in some contexts and not so well in others.

  3. Tom Crandall Says:

    Chris,

    I second your point about retail (and some restaurants) resisting the photography of display layouts and interior design.

    However, just as local business reviews and social media have demanded more transparency and better customer service, will this stance fade in order to compete?

  4. Michael D Says:

    Very Cool! They should test this in SoCal as well, my store is available for all the gps enabled cameras they can bring. :)

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Chris/Tom:

    I would bet that if my competitor is doing it then I will do it. Another thing: any individual can walk into any store and see layout, displays, etc.

    I see it being very labor intensive for Google. It will only matter in a few contexts for consumers. Do I care what the inside of the doctor’s office looks like? I care about the quality of the doctor.

    I do care what the hotel lobby and room look like perhaps. I may care what the salon looks like. Contractors that come to me: it won’t matter in those situations either.

  6. Kyle Kazak Says:

    Great post, A buddy of mine proposed this idea about 4-6 months ago. I thought it was a good idea then and I still think this will be another value-added service by Google.

    Just wait until they slap targeted ads in front of those photographed items in Store View!

    I’ll have to keep up on this topic.

    Thanks Greg

  7. MiriamEllis Says:

    Ah, I’ve long wondered if this would happen, Greg. Looks like it’s starting. Very interesting. Thanks for blogging about this.

  8. ian Says:

    great for google, bad for everyscape, earthmine and others. i bet this is the beginning of a self-service plan for SMBs to publish interior photos within Pages.

  9. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    I love it. Especially for restaurants, hotels, gyms, daycare, and other places where you want to get a feel for the place as you go through the search > consider > select process. The only businesses that should be afraid are the ones that don’t have compelling interiors, though I caveat that with the earlier point about store layout IP.

  10. earlpearl Says:

    Google is spending nice money on photographers. Good for the photographers. All these nifty little gadgets and gizmo’s for various local entities.

    They should spend that money oriented towards local at getting more customer service in google groups for maps and fixing some of the crazy breakdowns in maps algos. There seems to be a recent outbreak of merged listings. those are deadly and miserable.

    my $0.02 :D

  11. Greg Sterling Says:

    Spend the money on pipes not paint, eh?

  12. Tim Says:

    http://strassentour.herold.at/?point=003091&street=woll&locale=en

    Currently being done by some YP players in Europe. Not for free though – the economics of doing for free to scale are tough.

  13. Chris Silver Smith Says:

    True that any individual can walk into a store and see the layouts. I just know from experience that if you walk into some stores with a camera, they’ll ask you to stop taking pics. So, some places are hypersensitive to cameras.

    It’s certainly interesting.

    Another interesting thing they could do is take photos along walking paths, similar to what they do with Street View. There are a number of streets around the country where they’re only open to foot traffic, and these places would be interesting to have in Street View. Also, various hiking or sightseeing paths that do not have streets.

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