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.