Shopping online may take on a whole new meaning soon. Google maps Street View is headed off the street and into stores, where users can actually see the products on the shelves, view the layout of a store, or see what a restaurant’s ambience is like before they even go.
Currently with Google maps, users can select locations, cruise down the street, and see photos of the front of many homes, stores and businesses. With this new project that Google is undertaking, users will be able to go a step further. They will be able to maneuver right into the store and take a look around.
Like the current version of Street View, the images will not be live. Businesses will be able to apply through Google for a time for a photo shoot. The photos will go online, and users will be able to see what the inside of store looked like at that point in time.
Right now the program is limited to a number of major cities in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, England, and France. Google said it would start by inviting some of the most searched for types of businesses to request a photo shoot. This includes hotels, shops, restaurants, gyms and vehicle repair shops. For now they will not be doing major chains.
Users browse through stores by clicking on arrows, and can pan, zoom, tilt, just as the current outdoor Street View functions. Here is an example.
Google said that it has already worked with thousands of businesses on the 360° photo shoots. The indoor images are currently available through the business’ Google Places page. As of today, we were unable to move from the outdoor street view into a participating store.