Local businesses embrace Google Business Photos
Four years ago, Canadians were marvelling at Google Street View, which allowed them to see the exteriors of homes and other roadside sites on their smartphones and computers.
The next evolution of the technology is giving them a glimpse inside.
Google Business Photos has been offered in some American cities since 2010, and was launched in Canada in May 2012. But the program — which allows businesses to offer panoramic views of their interiors — is still relatively unknown in this country, said one of the people taking the pictures.
Jody Wall is a Google-certified photographer who makes his living capturing images for Google Business Photos. In fact, the British Columbia resident set a record in July for the most published Google photo tours in a single month: 124.
He’s in Red Deer this week to present at an Atlific Hotels conference at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel, but is also using his time in the city to add the Sheraton, the Comfort Inn & Suites Red Deer, and a couple of local shops to his Google portfolio.
Google Business Photos is still in its infancy, said Wall. But he expects it to revolutionize the way people choose hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses in the future.
“In a couple of years, if you Google something and it doesn’t have an inside view, you’re probably not going to go there.”
Once shot, a business’s photo tour can be viewed via a Google search, on Google Maps and in Google + listings. It can also be embedded into the business’s website or social media pages.
The cost starts at about $350, with a simple job taking as little as a half-hour to complete, said Wall. But he typically takes much longer to shoot a tour.
“I want to make sure the shoots are good. I want to make sure everything is out on the shelves correctly; I want to make sure the garbage cans are hidden.”
Using a specialized lens and a camera mounted on a tripod swivel, Wall captures multiple images that can then be blended together into a continuous photo. In addition to pictures outside and immediately inside a business’s entrance, Wall will shoot a series of photos around the interior — often following the route that customers would typically take.
“It all depends on the layout of the store.”
There’s a long list of “Google Trusted Photographers” in Canada, but Wall’s employer InsideView4Business — a division of online marketing, search engine optimization and website design firm InControl Solutions of Delta, B.C. — is one of the most prolific.
“We’ve done more shoots than anybody else in Canada,” he said.
The former owner of a B.C. white water rafting company, Wall has been a Google Business Photos shooter for a year. It’s a great way to travel and see the insides of interesting businesses, he said.
“It’s a great job.”
Additional information about Google Business Photos can be found online at maps.google.ca/help/maps/businessphotos. InsideView4Business’s website is at InsideView4Business.com.