Google has officially launched its Business Photos initiative in India, allowing consumers to see inside a company's premise without actually stepping inside the location. The program allows local businesses to provide Google users a virtual tour inside the business through interactive 360-degree imagery. This imagery can be viewed on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ Local Pages.
The program is currently available in more than eight countries globally including United States, Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Google Business Photos allows customers to walk through, explore, and take a closer look at a business premise. Also, businesses can embed these photos on their Web sites and social media channels using an embedded code from Google Maps.
Commenting on the value for business owners, Shailesh Nalawadi, Google's product manager of Geo, said: "For the businesses, this provides an opportunity to visually present their product and services. For example, before visiting a store to purchase an electronic device, consumers can use business photos to evaluate and view the selections offered by various retailers."
Hard Rock Cafe in an upscale pub in Pune, India's seventh largest metropolis, has its imagery on Google Maps as part of the pilot program. A customer can check out the décor, seating, and ambience before planning an evening out at the pub.
To get Google Business Photos, business owners can hire one of Google's certified Trusted Agency Photographers including Indiacom, Jindal RH Interactive, Carbon Tree, and Vox360, to capture the interiors of their premises and displays on the storefront, like business hours, rating details, credit cards accepted, and posted menus. Trusted Agency photographers are independent contractors who have been trained and certified by Google to produce high quality panoramic images.
As a business owner, though, one can also upload own photographs to Google+ Local.
Busienss Photos can help customers get a better sense of what a business has to offer and what sets it apart from others.