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Google Businesses Technology

Google Street View Moves Indoors 116

Hugh Pickens writes "Google is taking its Street View mapping service indoors with plans moving ahead for 360-degree Business Photos, a program that would send Google photographers to various businesses to snap professional photos for their Places Page. 'This experience, using Street View technology, includes 360-degree imagery of the business interior and storefront,' says Google. 'With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves at the business and decide if they want to visit in person.' Photographs are taken by 'trusted' photographers, though businesses can also upload their own images via Google Places. It's starting with businesses 'that we know are searched for most regularly,' like restaurants, hotels, retail shops, gyms, salons, and repair shops. Taking internal photos and posting them online brings up some security questions, but Google says its photographs will 'capture nothing different to what a customer would see by visiting the business in real life.'"
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Google Street View Moves Indoors

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  • Next they'll be asking us if pictures of our homes are okay.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What, do you have something to hide?

      • by Dwonis (52652) *
        Don't you?
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Don't you?

          Your comment appeared directly under "most likely has p0rn scattered about" so I had to double check who you were actually replying to. Most confusing.

    • Just wait until google goatse (beta) starts taking pictures.
    • And I will say no.

    • by terrox (555131)
      "photographs will 'capture nothing different to what a customer would see" - which is what they'd say about visitors to your home and it is obviously way too far. The Google stance is dangerous direction, "why not" doesn't apply to everything in life and I can think of tons of reasons why not. More like, "we're creepy and we will push you until you break, then back off, then push again once you're not looking".
      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        "photographs will 'capture nothing different to what a customer would see" - which is what they'd say about visitors to your home and it is obviously way too far.

        Complete bullshit.

        People can't walk in off the street to your home and take photos. They can in (most) businesses, and post them on their blogs, Twitter, etc, etc.

        And in any case, the "inside photos" are only being taken WITH THE EXPRESS PERMISSION AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE BUSINESS OWNERS, (from TFA:"Business photos are being gathered by a team of Google trusted photographers with permission from the businesses involved") because they want to publicise their business. It's a form of ADVERTISING. If you ru

        • And in any case, the "inside photos" are only being taken WITH THE EXPRESS PERMISSION AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE BUSINESS OWNERS

          This is certainly the case at CERN where they have been photographing the LHC underground. In fact when I first heard about this several months ago I contacted the CERN press office to suggest it but they'd already invited them. In terms of repercussions my only worry is that someone will mistake a photo-stitch artifact as the initial signs of black hole formation! However I would be curious to know how they cope with the lack of GPS under-ground when stitching the photos together.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        You obviously missed the part about businesses having to take the photos and submit the to google. Obviously the idea here is to attract businesses to google, recommend the search services and obviously advertise with google.

        Is it of benefit for a business to have internal panorama liked to google maps at the appropriate location, depends on the business, hotels, bars, restaurants obviously yes, retail outlets most probably. Likely get it now, while it's free, the more popular the more likely google will

    • Maybe they've seen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMFBuHsKXb0 [youtube.com] (in German, French subtitles available, but unfortunately no English ones).

    • by Gerzel (240421)

      As long as they are asking before there is nothing wrong with it.

    • The key here is *asking*. As long as they take a polite no for an answer and move along, i don't care what they *ask*.

  • Taking internal photos and posting them online brings up some security questions, but Google says its photographs will 'capture nothing different to what a customer would see by visiting the business in real life.

    In real life, lawyers cannot sit in their offices and look for potential trip and fall hazards to exploit. Criminals cannot take detailed photos of the interior so they know exactly where to cut through the ceiling at night to avoid motion detectors. There are many reasons most stores do not allo

    • by quantaman (517394) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:05PM (#37882772)

      The FAQ [slashdot.org] covers this
      "4. How are business photos collected?

      Business photos are being gathered by a team of Google trusted photographers with permission from the businesses involved. These are local photographers who service your neighborhood."

      "8. Who from my business can give permission to Google to take photos?

      You can only apply for a business photo shoot if you have the proper authority to allow a Google trusted photographer access to the business premises to collect photographs, and to allow Google to use those photographs in its products and services. For example, you might be the owner of the business, or a director or manager with sufficient authority to make those commitments on behalf of the business. Please note that by submitting your application for a business photo shoot you are confirming with Google that you have the authority to make that commitment."

      While a store's local manager might accidentally go against the wishes of the higher ups this is true for any business decision. I think the critical point with respect to security is that this is explicitly opt-in, so the businesses can decide on the security risk for themselves.

    • There are many reasons most stores do not allow customers to take photos. I predict most chains will be issuing memos to their stores reminding them of the policy against allowing photos.

      I'm sure many will, but I doubt it's going to be due do any well-founded fears. Businesses—especially large chains—simply tend to be very conservative, and extremely control-freaky. They simply hate and fear anything that isn't under their control.

      I had the odd experience recently of taking cell-phone picture of a shelf of books at a bookstore. Not the store in general, no people, no wide view, just a big shelf of books. Not a closeup of a cover or title page, or, well, anything; the titles are probably barely readable. But the result was that the store clerk flipped out, and threw himself in front of me to block the camera, saying no photos, no photos, etc... I asked him why, and he sort of blathered "you might post it to the internet", "it might be a copyright violation", "some titles might be recognizable", etc. Anyway, the point was that he really didn't have a reason, he was just afraid, of vague murky threats, and in this state of fear, simply wasn't very rational.

      And that state of vague irrational fear is the rule more than it's the exception in this sort of situation.

      • by Sepultura (150245)
        Likely his actual reason was that he was told not to allow it by his manager or boss. It's common, especially with larger chains, not to allow photographs of their setups for very reasonable reasons. One very simple reason is that some store managers or those under them may screw up a display in a way that makes it offensive or otherwise humiliating to the corporation at large. If an image were to get out it would reflect badly on them. Just look at failblog and similar sites and you'll see lots of exa
    • by Shazback (1842686)
      If Google "indoor" images are as precise and updated as frequently as Google streetview images, neither of those will be a concern. The abseiling, chute-dropping, motion detection-avoiding criminals will be a good 20 feet away from where they thought they'd be, and the trip & fall lawyer will be readying a case about some feature that was changed 9 months ago.
    • There are many reasons most stores do not allow customers to take photos. I predict most chains will be issuing memos to their stores reminding them of the policy against allowing photos.

      peopleofwalmart.com is probably right at the top of the list.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:01PM (#37882746)
    Google: You're not supposed to use April Fools jokes as product ideas. Sincerely, Already Nervous Google Users Everywhere
    • Google's product plan isn't about asking "why?"; it's about asking "why not?".

      Of course, that why not is usually answered and then they junk the product after a few months.

    • by jgeiger (1356045)
      Why not? It's working just fine for Blizzard and World of Warcraft...
    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      What? Why? A lot of businesses already take pics of their store for their website. This'll just make it a little easier to find and less work on the owners part. Win-win. In theory.
      • Re:umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lucm (889690) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @11:07PM (#37883900)

        > Win-win

        Actually it's win-win-win:
        1) Win for Google
        2) Win for the owners
        3) Win for the debit cards clone artists who will be able to find stores where the pinpads are easy to access without having to send Ahmed or Jamal all over town (too bad for Ahmed and Jamal, it was a cool gig and they had the chance to drive the BMW and listen to loud eurodance)

        • by smurfsurf (892933)

          Yes, yes. And we better stop Google Streetview altogether because of possible burglars and Google Earth because of possible terrorists!

          • by lucm (889690)

            No identity theft, no burglaries, no terrorism... what would Ahmed and Jamal do without Google? The shishtaouk deli and car-wash markets are getting crowded.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:01PM (#37882748)

    The had part: getting that car in through the front door.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The had part: getting that car in through the front door.

      Keep working on that Bostonian accent. So close.

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Oblig. video [youtube.com].

  • by Warhawke (1312723) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:02PM (#37882754)
    Already have done this with my business some time ago. I wouldn't call this new news. It's not like they bust in and snap the photos without the business owner's permission. It's opt-in, and it's a good idea for businesses that would like the marketing boost. Cutting in through the ceiling to avoid motion detectors? You guys have been watching WAY too many heist movies. Ever tried operating a concrete saw at night? Good luck not attracting attention. It's just as easy for a criminal to walk into a place, walk around, get a feel, maybe snap some photos on their cell phone (increasingly commonplace), buy a cheap item to keep from looking suspicious, and walk out.
    • Ever tried operating a concrete saw at night?

      You use a thermal lance.

  • No Problem Here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:07PM (#37882780) Homepage
    Funny how in the last discussion on a topic like this, something about a rule against photos in a mall in Scotland, the concensus seemed to be that you have the right to take photos...

    As much as I dislike Google and surveillance society, this is neither surveillance nor shocking. There is nothing that will be shown that you could not see on your own going into the store. I don't really see how in this case you having the right to take and presumably distribute photos is any different than Google doing so. Yes, they are a company and not a person, but that distinction only matters in some cases. If Google doesn't have the right to, you won't pretty damn soon yourself. Think about that.

    Is it a little scary that there might be a database of interiors of buildings? Maybe; but on the other hand, almost no one seems to bat an eye at the millions of surveillance cameras that take and stream video to who knows where (other than Youtube. Funny how that works). I don't really see how static photos is in any way shocking when that is the norm. I suppose things are only scary if they are new and scary, something that just shows intellectual laziness.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I, as well as millions of other people, would find this incredibly useful.

    To be able to see the insides of places you may or may not visit would be very handy in decision making.
    Feel a little Italian, find a nice authentic Italian restaurant. The look and feel counts just as much as the food does. (in a lot of peoples opinions)

    The only problem I see with this is interior changes. Not such a huge problem with maps, but inside views can change frequently in some cases, especially stores, so it gives a fals

    • by Per Wigren (5315)
      Great idea! I found a picture of a nice Italian restaurant and Mamma Mia! Now my pizza tastes much better.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Feel a little Italian

      Are you a Roman Catholic priest, by any chance?

    • If restauranteurs include streaming video of the kitchen so i can see if my Tilapia Livornese comes with a side of roaches--hopefully not, then I'll be so down with this.

  • Just wait for any phone with android to start taking random pictures that are then reviewed by people at google to compile 360 views of the interior of your home! Nah, that would be pointless but still funny if they actually wasted recourses for such a thing.
  • I heard that Google is developing a new program called Google Space. Basically, they are going to send thousands, nay, millions, of 360-degree HD photo capturing deep space probes away from the earth in all directions so that people can explore space from the comfort of their desks. I kid, of course.
  • I would have loved google maps while walking around there. Disney's app was pretty poor. GPS isn't super accurate, but enough to kind of let you know where you are in the park. Being able to "navigate" to space mountain would have been pretty cool. I'm sure Disney would give them access before or after the park opens. It also be cool if Google maps had Bluetooth or some other kind of wireless access so towers could give your phone even more accurate location.

  • It would be way too creepy any other way.

    Can we please update the laws for the 21st century? How about a legal right to not be exhibited without consent.

    One day there will be Googleoids walking around with panoramic helmet cams if we don't protect non-notable individuals from exhibition.

  • eCommerce! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by znerk (1162519) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @08:34PM (#37883280)

    Won't be too much longer before Google announces their new "virtual storefront" technology, allowing shoppers to visit stores online in a virtual fashion, picking through actual, real-time merchandise and ordering it online with their credit card (via another Google service, of course). The customer gets a richer shopping experience from the comfort of their living room, the business doesn't have to deal with as much foot traffic, and Google gets a small percentage of every transaction.

    Look out, eBay, Google's coming for you.

  • That'll be useful next time I want to visit J.C. Penny! .....Bazinga.

  • This seems like a great way for a [criminal|terrorist|other bad guy] to scope out a location without exposing them self to the risk of actually going to the location.
    • It does. And while Google says that the "photographs will capture nothing different to what a customer would see", with the pictures you certainly have more time to carefully look at the details and make more accurate plans. I'm not trying to crush a potentially useful idea, but there is some apparent security risks.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      Paranoid bollocks.

      1) Google does it if a business ASKS THEM TO. You're unlikely to get close ups of bank vaults or diamond trading firms.

      2) They don't take photos where the owner tells them not to.

      3) Bad guys can stick on a moustache, or pay someone to scope the place out -- with special attention to security features probably NOT shown by Googlecam. People wander around with a phone in their hand all the time, trivial to set it to take photos or video.

    • by smurfsurf (892933)

      Again? Google Earth, Google Streetview, every time the same doomsday scenarios... Run people, run!!1! Teh terrists are coming!!1!

      Thank god that kind thinking was not prevalent in the past or we would not have electricity, cars or aircrafts.

  • by pipedwho (1174327) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @09:31PM (#37883546)

    From the summary:

    Taking internal photos and posting them online brings up some security questions, but Google says its photographs will 'capture nothing different to what a customer would see by visiting the business in real life.'"

    And it also raises other equally valid questions like should I eat lunch today, and how far will it be to the nearest toilet if I get a sudden attack of diarrhoea. Oh wait, no it doesn't.

  • and on 12-mar-2010 people thought this [youtube.com] was a joke ...
  • the faces of those sitting on toilets in the restrooms?
  • Google will find my lost keys!

  • In 2010, the german magazine "Der Spiegel" predicted there will be "Google Home View" in their comedy section - there is even a video (in german) [spiegel.de].

  • Most shopping malls I know prohibit any picture-taking inside, let alone something to be broadcast to the webiverse.

    On the other hand, the last time I was actually inside a mall was before telephones had cameras, so maybe they've given that up in the meantime.

  • Oh, how easy it is to spy on people, how hard it is to keep secrets nowadays. No KGB agent had such wealth of information upon their targets as the potential targets of today are providing themselves with all these social media sites and systems. One wonders what McCarthyism in USA (or Soviet repressions) would have looked like, given all these tools, all these ways to spy on people and all these ways to aggregate data with easy tools and powerful mechanisms to do it that exist today. Are we even starting

  • When things differ, they differ from one another.

    There's no such thing as "different than" or "different to".

  • There has been quite a bit of Streeview bating already, but I can just see a train wreck size problem heading Google's way when they go inside student dorms.

    Whoehahaha - it'll beat the living daylights out of any wardrobe malfunction..

  • I'm hoping they extend this further and start doing trails through the forests preserves. Then I won't have to go out there when the mosquitoes are bad. I can sit at home and go for a nice walk in the woods. Might be good for geocaching without leaving your computer also.

  • One things for sure Google never stands still

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer