Google Maps Street View Expands Indoors

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is now taking its popular (though sometimes controversial) Google Maps Street View off the sidewalk and right into the brick-and-mortar of prominent businesses. Right now, a number of establishments have allowed the search giant to post pictures of their business environment on the web.

Google Maps Street View is a handy little search tool that extends the basic Google Maps experience. It allows users to see the actual location from the street. It's extremely useful when you're unfamiliar with an area and need to know exactly what the destination looks like from a street level.

Privacy Issues Likely Won't Hurt Popularity

Google Maps Street View, however, isn't without its caveats.

Last year, Google Maps Street Views was put on hold amid privacy concerns in Europe. In September of this year, Google Maps Street Views was again under the microscope when it inadvertently took a picture of a Florida woman in her birthday suit.

Still, a little privacy invasion hasn't been enough to steer people away from using the tool. Now, it's got a new pilot project that allows web users to leave the street and check out the inside of interesting businesses. However, unlike Google Maps Street View, this new mode requires a business agree to the uploading of photos before they can be placed on the web. (Source:

"This project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence," a Google spokesperson said. "We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery." (Source:

Advanced Scouting Useful for Consumers

In the end, it will be a useful tool for people who want to know ahead of time if their trip to a new retail outlet will be worth it. A quick peek inside will certainly give consumers an idea about the size of a store and the variety of its products.

Reportedly, the photos will offer 360-degree navigation. Businesses will also be given the option of uploading their own photos, and certainly Google hopes the project will be seen as a valuable advertising tool.

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