The street view feature on Google Maps has been entertaining the masses for five years, providing users a virtual tour of any given area as though walking on the sidewalk or driving on the street. This year, Google expanded the service to allow online viewers a look inside participating businesses, as well. First launched in New York City and Los Angeles, Google Maps Business Photos is available in limited cities throughout the U.S., including Santa Barbara, as of August.
Evolving Photography, owned by husband-and-wife Mahius and Kristina Concord, is a Google-trusted business approved to shoot Google Business Photos tours for Santa Barbara County. Tours can go inside rooms and up multiple floors, and still shots are taken for websites and promotional purposes. The businesses excluded from this up-close feature are medical, legal, corporate, or religious institutions, per Google stipulations.
The way it works is simple: High-quality panoramic photos are taken throughout the entire establishment — or as much of it as desired — and are then stitched together to create one seamless virtual tour that can be navigated in any direction with the use of your mouse. The update gives potential customers a more complete idea of a business without stepping foot inside. This means the atmosphere and décor of a retail store, restaurant, or hotel can be experienced before making a decision about where to take your business.
The Concords have already completed a 360-degree digital tour of Santa Barbara’s Float Luxury Spa, as well as several shops around Solvang, with more tours on the way. Their virtual tours extend beyond Google Business Photos; they also shoot real estate and businesses in the San Luis Obispo area.
The marketing advantage is a huge draw to Google Business Photos participants. As Mahius explained, “Google Business Photos allows potential customers to find businesses on the Internet, putting them at the top of the web search.” Evolving Photography includes QR codes for establishments to market so customers can link directly to the virtual tours.
Parties interested in putting their business on display can set up a shoot with Evolving Photography at EvolvingPhotography.com or Contact@EvolvingPhotography.com. For more information about Google Maps Business Photos, visit maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos.