Google have turned the heat up another notch in their bid to attract users to Google places. The more formal introduction of Google business photos this month by Marrisa Mayer at the Social-Loco conference shows that they are planning on ramping up the quality of information found within businesses listings, and are using 3d business photos to do it.
Business photos is not a new product offering, but it has been opened up now to a much wider audience, with the ability to now request that your business receive a professional photographer from the maps team, provided you are located in one of the following cities. Whereas previous Google came to you, now the ability to request a visit is available. The photographs taken show a Streetview like interior view of your business and products, using the same technology that enabled them to showcase various museums around the world.
During an interview that followed her product announcements, Mayer hinted that Google’s plan for scaling business photos at scale will be to crowdsource the information from business owners themselves, meaning the creation of this type of walkthrough for any collection of photos isn’t far from release.
Gruhn Guitars in Nashville is one such business that has received the 5 star photo treatment from Google, showcasing their comprehensive collection of stock in an interactive way.
You can see from the demo that this will have multiple applications. I can see this being useful for choosing a restaurant to dine at for the evening, as this will give an instant preview of what the experience is like prior to your visit.
Google has collected some five million place page reviews already and is seeing about a million added every month. This addition to the product is likely to also positively impact reviews, and indeed drive businesses to adopt and encourage the review process. I blogged previously about how important Google places / reviews are in the pursuit of local traffic, and this news will undoubtedly help with building consumer trust, and in turn drive footfall traffic through the doors of businesses, as well as increasing the web traffic to Google maps and business listings.
See the Google video below to see more about the service.