Google Maps to show users the inside of local businesses


Giving yet more reasons for local retailers to show up on its Google Earth and Google Maps services, Google is debuting a feature that lets users see what a business looks like from the inside. The feature, part of Google’s Places service for local businesses, will let owners showcase 360-degree views of their shops’ interiors. The service will be available the week of 5/9 in the US, Japan and other countries.

It’s similar to Google’s Street View mapping option, where images are gathered by a fleet of vehicles with 360-degree cameras mounted on top. In this case, Google staffers will go into the business and shoot photos, but only with a business owner’s permission.

RBR-TVBR observation: Looks like adding features such as this may also help Google enter into the local daily deal provider space now dominated by Groupon and LivingSocial. It announced a marketing program last month  that offers discounts from local companies.