Virtual visits with Google Business View

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 22 Mar 2014

A PHOTO is worth a thousand words and in the case of Google’s Business View that adage is spot on. The new feature offered by Google allows users to take a 360° virtual tour of shops, restaurants and other indoor locations using Google’s Street View technology.

“Business View essentially is Street View but for indoor locations,” says Jimin Lai, agency development manager for Three Sixty Dynamics. “It is suited to just about any type of businesses and serves as an additional avenue to attract more customers and increase online exposure.”

Three Sixty Dynamics is one of three agencies that have been appointed by search giant Google to populate its Business View directory. It was the first agency to be appointed.

“Business View can be highly beneficial to businesses who want to promote their location, as it gives customers a peek of their premises,” said the 39-year-old. He worked as a photo journalist with The Star, as well as news agencies such as AFP and Reuters before joining Three Sixty Dynamics.

The company has shot a number of stores including Tony Roma’s, San Francisco Coffee and Tarbush in Pavilion over the past three months.

“We are always on the look out for potential locations and shops that suits the Business View listing,” he said. “Once we have obtained consent from the business owner, we will schedule a photoshoot that will normally take between one to two hours. We also have to make sure that the location is well lit and presentable.”

A phootshoot usually only requires one photographer. He or she will use a DSLR with fisheye lens mounted on a special Google calibration device to take four shots. The images will then be combined to form a 360° view.

“After shooting we will need about two weeks to process the images before submitting them to Google. We also need to follow Google’s guidelines that include blurring out people’s faces and number plates of vehicles,” he said.  

“We don’t only shoot virtual walkthroughs but also shoot still photos of interesting features. This may include taking pictures of notable dishes at a restaurant or interesting decorations in a store.”

Three Sixty Dynamics charges based on the size of a location. The starting price is RM1,000.

To date the company has photographed over 50 locations in the Klang Valley and there are plans to expand operation to other states.

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