Awesome New Google Business Panoramas Extend Street View Technology
We recently noticed business panoramas appearing on Google Places/Maps pages for a number of businesses in Austin, TX. These business panoramas operate just like Google Street View, and in fact, in some cases you can follow the street view right through the doors of a business and into the inside. You can try it by visiting local restaurant J. Blacks Google Places Page (just follow the arrows out the door!).
Here’s a screenshot of our new panorama, and it links to the panorama itself:
How to Get Google Business Panoramas for Your Places Listing
We got our panorama up in about 8 days from start to finish–you’ll need an outside vendor to do it. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
- Start with a Google Places page. You’ll need a verified Google+ Local/Google Places/Maps listing. If you’ve got duplicate listings, you’ll want to clean that up first. Also, if you have multiple locations, you will need to secure (and pay for) separate panoramas.
- Find a Google-authorized provider. You can’t shoot these panoramas yourself. You need to select from a list of authorized providers (“Trusted Photographer”) and make your own deal with them. You can go here to find a Google Trusted Photographer in your area.
- Arrange your photo shoot. You’ll arrange a time and price with the Trusted Photographer. We got an appointment the next day from Olive Tree Photography in Austin (sadly, as of 2015, Olive is no longer offering this service), and they came out the next day.
- Your Photographer does the rest. Your Trusted Photographer has a special camera, special software, and back-door access to your Google+ Local page, so they’ll make the upload to your page on their own. Ours was posted in 6 or 7 days after the shoot. We also got about 20 high-quality still shots for our local page. Check with your provider, this service might be optional, but ours was included in our price of about $270, we opted for a bare-bones service. The range will generally be $250 to $650.
About the Photo Shoot
We were obviously interested in the technology involved, and were expecting a camera more like the spaceship-shaped cameras used on Google’s mapping vehicles, but the camera setup was surprisingly compact and ordinary looking:
Pictured above is the Olive Tree team at work. The entire shoot took about 25 minutes.
The SEO and Marketing Benefits
We see the business photos as obviously beneficial to a company’s marketing program. Google Maps is still the king within the world of local listings, at least for the time being, and having a view of your business available to new customers is a great way to introduce yourself.
Furthermore, we surmise that adding this feature to a Google+ Local page serves to enhance the listing, which is always beneficial for ranking within the local system. It may also serve to give the listing further verification and authority.
In short: it’s a no-brainer.
Embedding the Panorama
More good news: you can embed the panorama just as you would embed a map. You simply browse to your panorama and play with it until you have the exact orientation you want and then click the link icon at the upper left of the panorama window. You’ll see the familiar link menu pop up. You can see our panorama embedded on our TastyPlacement team page.
If you do choose to go forward with a panorama, good luck with your photo shoot!