During her keynote at the Social Loco conference today, Google’s Marissa Mayer announced a new addition to Places: Google Business Photos. This new feature essentially brings Street View indoors and will give users a view of the inside of select stores. There are a few caveats here, though: this feature isn’t live yet and businesses will have to apply for photo shoots. For now, Google is also only looking for businesses in a select number of cities, including the Bay Area, Orange County, Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Petersburg in the U.S., Paris and London in Europa, as well as select cities in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
I first heard rumors about this feature more than a year ago. At that time, though, Google was supposedly taking pictures at businesses in New York, a city that isn’t currently on Google’s list.
As of now, no images are available on Google Places yet, but according to Mayer, the first images should go online next week.
No Chains Need Apply
According to Google’s FAQ, the company will focus on businesses that are searched for most regularly. As for the types of businesses, Google is looking for restaurants, hotels, retail shops and “other storefront businesses.” Interestingly, Google also notes that it isn’t interested in taking photos at chain establishments (as well as legal and medical businesses).
Unlike Street View, where Google can produce thousands of images by just driving through a city, this new project sounds quite labor intensive. As Jason Kincaid notes on TechCrunch, it comes as a surprise that Google isn’t allowing businesses to take their own pictures, though maybe that will come at a later point and Google is just trying to keep the quality of these images as high as possible right now.