You know how you always needed directions and the first thing you’d do is type the address into Google but then it would throw up a map that didn’t really make sense (unless you were a cartographer) and then you asked why there wasn’t something that made all those arrows and nameless streets and landmarks a lot more simpler? Well, Google asked that question from itself a long time ago and gave you the ‘Street View’ and after which life got much simpler, with just about anybody’s doorstep in 2D richness, you started asking yourself “I wonder what’s inside there?”
Well before you say that question has gone unanswered, Google is two steps ahead of you already test-piloting a new feature on the Street-View. According to a recent release from Google, the internet giant has been trial-running a new ‘Inside-View’ that will allow users to look into restaurants, cafes, shops and other businesses that appear on its maps.
In a statement Google said, "Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence. We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery."
When launched, the new service will act as an extension of the Street-View and similar to it will provide users with a 360-degree view of the interiors of the locations selected. And whereas critics cited invasion of privacy issues with the Street-View, the ‘Inside-View’ is entirely voluntary. Selecting the locations, Google has said that it will request the ‘most-searched’ type of businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, gyms and workshops etc to invite a Google photographer who will then, using both fish-eye and wide-angle lenses, take pictures of the locations with the businesses themselves allowed to provide their own pictures as well.
But Google is not providing the service to everyone, saying that it will not feature big-brand chains, hospitals and law practices, in line with the ‘no-advertising’ rule that apply to the latter cases. The service, as the company statement implies, wishes to focus on smaller businesses and help to promote them.
No launch date has been mentioned, but the service itself will be available in select locations only. Besides major cities in America, the service will be available in London, Paris, as well as a number of cities in Japan, New Zealand and Australia, where a chocolate shop was the first to sign-up for a Google ‘photo shoot’.
This new addition to the Street-View, besides the above mentioned Google Art Project, has also seen Google take on the mighty Amazon River, charting it as well as other remote locations with its Street-View technology.