Google has started to accept applicants for its "Business Photos By Google" starting today. Restaurants, gyms and shops from around the world can apply to have a Google-approved photographer come over and take some snaps.
The new features allows the stills to appear on the shop’s Place page, and special 360-Degree panorama shots will be loaded into Streetview.
The new service will be first available in certain US cities, London, Paris, and cities in Australia and New Zealand. As a business owner the advantage of participation is clear. You get the increased visibility, and the ability to demonstrate why your shop is a better venue than your competitors. At the same time it is quite an undertaking to get good photos of hundred’s of businesses. Given Google’s already tenuous track record in the EU with regards to the privacy implications of Street View, and the monopoly status of Google, it is likely that the service will have to allow all businesses to upload images rather than worry about the perception of discrimination. This may make for some VERY interesting images from some of the smaller bars and businesses.
At this point you can only apply to be accepted, and likely the shops that are accepted will be "visually appealing" not necessarily the ones you would be most interested in seeing.
Google is kicking off their efforts by photographing interiors of the types of businesses that they know are searched for most regularly. The types of businesses they’re currently interested in include restaurants, hotels, retail shops, gyms, salons, repair shops and a variety of other storefront businesses. They’re currently not photographing legal, medical, or big brand chain establishments.
Google owns all the photos that are collected as part of a business photo shoot. You will have the option to ask us to remove images taken by Google trusted photographers from our products and services, and you can always upload your own photos through Google Places.
To apply for an official Google photo shoot of your business, please fill out the online Business Photos application. If we are unable to schedule an official photo shoot of your business immediately, you can always update photos of your business through Google Places.