By Raman Verma

Google launched Street View back in 2007 and at first it was nothing more than a novelty. Privacy advocates saw it as the final nail in the coffin; after all, Google was now taking photos of people leaving strip clubs, sunbathers in bikinis, people getting arrested, burglars jumping fences, and more. Never heard of these issues? Then you’ll enjoy this blog about 36 Embarrassing Street View Sightings.

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Google moved swiftly to alleviate privacy concerns by blurring faces, registration plates and any other personally identifiable information. Like many other technological advances, Street View is now woven into the fabric of our daily lives, but the question is can it benefit businesses?

Google Business View Examples

Let’s just start by taking a look at some of the most stunning examples of virtual tours available on Google Maps:

Emirates A380 Interior - Dubai International Airport (click to open)

Uncommon Objects – Antique Store – Texas (click to open)

Sarastro Restaurant – London (click to open)

Benefits to businesses

No doubt virtual tours have been around for a long time but what you have to bear in mind is that smartphones haven’t. According to a report by MDG Advertising (US based full service agency):

  • 77.1 million mobile subscribers use local content on a mobile device, accounting for 33% of all mobile subscribers.
  • By 2015, 30% of all search volume will have local intent and search revenues are estimated to top $8 billion.
  • 59 percent of consumers use Google every month to find a reputable, local business.
  • 50 percent of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61 percent of those searches result in a purchase.

So there is no doubt that Local Search is becoming increasingly valuable, and there is some evidence that having Google Business Photos may also enhance your local search ranking. According to a small study carried out by Jeff Finkelstein (founder of Customer Paradigm):

  • In five of the nine data sets, sites that adopted Google Business Photos/View had the top #1 local search ranking.
  • Google Business Photos/View appear to allow businesses to overcome a deficit of Google Reviews, lower star ratings, and even lower domain authority in some cases.

Still not a believer? Then this video may help change your mind:

Ok, so how do I get Google Business View?

All you need to do is select a trusted photographer or agency from Google’s Directory, schedule a photo shoot and view your images online. The photographer will stitch the images together to create a panoramic view and upload it on Google Maps for you. Furthermore, you can also add the photos on your site like we have done on our contact page.

Google classifies its affiliated photographers as Top Performers, Annual Award Winners and Agency, so you can easily choose the right one for your budget. The cost varies depending on the photographer/agency you use and the number of panoramas required although you can expect to pay around £100 per panorama.

If you are looking for recommendations then we have no issues in recommending who did a great job creating our Business View.

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