May 1st of this year Google publicly launched Google Business Photos. Jim Hilker, owner of Places.Mobile, is one over 200 certified Google Trusted Photographers working on this new new program. Each month new cities across the US and Canada are being added into the program, with a goal of getting the majority of businesses to participate. The following interview with Mr. Hilker provides readers with details about the Google Business Photos program and how it will benefit your restaurant.
What is Google Business Photos?
Google Business Photos uses the Street View technology to providing viewers with the ability to take a “walk-through” 360 degree virtual tour inside your place of business. A trained and certified Google Trusted Photographer uses special photography equipment to capture a series of 360 degree panoramic images at strategically placed points beginning outside and working in and throughout the establishment. The photographer then uses Google Street View technology to “stitch” the images into a crystal clear and smooth virtual tour which is then uploaded into the Google Map system and connected to Street View. Along with the 360 panoramic images the program requires the photographer to take specific high-resolution still images as well, such as interior decor, signage, menus, food plates, and more.
What size restaurants is this meant for?
Any size restaurant can participate in the Google Business Photos program, from small pizza shops and deli counters to large fine dining and national franchise restaurants. The image capture points can be as few as four, up to as many as 30. The capture points can even traverse staircases so that multi-floor facilities can show off all of their dining areas. Outdoor dining areas and patios can also be captured. Because we have over 200 certified photographers across the country, restaurant chains with multi-state locations can captured.
How much does it cost?
The costs are based upon the number of capture points required to create a high quality virtual tour. The minimum number of capture points allowed is four, which works well for the small deli counters and pizza shop type businesses. Google certified photographers are allowed to set their own pricing, but generally prices will range between $295 and $1500. The business owners have the right to limit how far inside the main entrance the tour is to progress, therefore even a large restaurant may decide to stay on the lower side of the range by just showing a glimpse of the establishment. Fees for Google Business Photos are a one-time fee and your tour will remain on Google with no monthly or annual renewal fees.
How will people find my virtual tour?
Google Business Photos are connected to and display in multiple Google services including Google Search, Google Places / +Local, Google Maps and on the mobile +Local found on smartphones and tablet devices. When a viewer goes to any of these Google services in search of your business they will see an image labeled “SEE INSIDE” on the listing. Clicking on that image transports the viewer right inside your establishment. Along with the broad Google display presence, business owners are also provided with the HTML code so that they can have the very same tour embedded into their own website and Facebook page.
What if I remodel or move later on?
If a business moves, remodels, or renovates, they are able to have the certified photographer return to reshoot the images and publish a new version to replace the old. The photographer and business owner will negotiate a price based on the fair market rate at that time.
Jim Hilker is happy to answer your questions and provide you with many examples. You can email him directly at email@example.com or call him at 607-227-1367.
The example tour below is live and you can interact with it right on this page. Use your mouse to click and drag to pan side to side and click the white arrows to move about the facility. You can also explore many more examples from the Places.Mobile website at www.mymobiplaces.com.