Monday, October 31, 2011

Say Cheese: Google Is Taking Street View Inside Companies

If you've ever used Google for maps and directions, you've probably happened across Street View, which gives you a 360-degree view of actual streets. But what if Google could do the same for the inside of your workplace?

Well, it can and it is. You'd better wipe the muffin crumbs off your desk and empty all those overflowing recycling bins because 360-degree online views of your office are now a reality. Google is ramping up something called Business Photos, where 360-degree photos are being taken of business interiors and storefronts. Say "cheese" to your trusty, local Google photographer! According to PC World:
"This experience, using Street View technology, includes 360-degree imagery of the business interior and storefront," Google said back in May. "With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves at the business and decide if they want to visit in person."

Photographs are taken by "trusted" photographers, Google said, though businesses can also upload their own images via Google Places. The company is currently setting up shoots in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, and the UK. In the U.S., that includes Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Austin, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Google said it is starting with businesses "that we know are searched for most regularly," like restaurants, hotels, retail shops, gyms, salons, and repair shops.

If you don't want to upload your own pictures, you can apply online for a photographer to stop by. Google will own the photos, though.

This workplace "trend" (if that's the right word) raises a few questions. What if some employees don't want to appear in the photos? What if it's possible to read sensitive documents or to view certain equipment a company doesn't want its competitors to see? Also, will future job applicants be turned off by a potential employer's dank, dark interior and yellowish fluorescent lighting that creeps them out almost as much as the average episode of Ghost Adventures? We shall see. Happy Halloween, by the way.

What is clear: Companies might want to clean house soon, and I'm not talking about layoffs. Some touch-up paint and new corridor lighting could suddenly become very important to the average company's branding and HR strategy if they want to put interior photos online.

You can read Google's Business Photos FAQ page here.

1 comment:

  1. Great! another exciting technology to use... I hope this gets implemented asap. A lot of new applications can be created out of it so I hope this can be carried out. Good job Google! another two thumbs up!