For those of us following the wonderful and mysterious world of Google, will remember that last year they briefly rolled out a new service that allowed Place Page owners with the possibility to have Google Store View, which literally allowed customers to virtually walk into the business’s premises while using Google Street View through Google Maps. The testing of this service however, was short lived and we were all left thinking that the service was discontinued!
Apparently not! Google seems to have gone a step better and have officially launched a new feature; called Google Business Photos. It is only available in a few select cities at the moment, however, London is on the list (and the only UK city listed on there at present 14/06/2011).
So what happens when you apply for Google Business Photos? What does it mean for your business? What does it mean for potential customers?
Well, when a business applies to the service, Google sends a photographer (for FREE!) to the business premises to have pictures taken which are then used on the business’s Google Places profile page. The types of businesses that would benefit and which Google is targeting with this service are restaurants, hotels, retail shops etc.
So what does this mean for people searching? Well, if this catches on and Google invest more money in rolling this out across more major cities, those searching for local businesses will have a much better insight into the business, and ought to be able to make better informed purchasing decisions. All of this will provide a better user experience for those looking for local businesses and should also increase the conversion rates for businesses which have taken advantage of this new service.
What does this mean for the rest of us? Well, if Google is investing money in sending photographers out to businesses in order to snap a few professional pics which will be used on Google Places profiles (and possibly other places too) then we are all going to have to ensure that all our business profiles online, and more importantly Google Places, will need to be up to scratch. Alternatively, you risk losing business to “the guy down the road with those pretty Google pictures on his profile”.
If you’re interested in getting in on this feature, then watch the video below on Google Business Photos to get the whole story: