According to a report in Search Engine Land, Google has begun taking images of the inside of some US stores with a view to incorporating them into the Street View function on its Google Maps service:
I received a tip from a New York retailer named Oh Nuts, that Google came to their store to take pictures for a new Google Maps product named “Google Store Views.” I was told that they took pictures of the inside of the store, every 6 feet, in all directions. They also took pictures of products.
Google Store Views will allow people to essentially walk into the store, off of Google Street Views. So imagine you are looking at this store, and then you can click on the door to enter it, all on Google Maps. Then when you enter the store, you can wall through it.
The Search Engine Land article includes pictures of the photographer taking the images, captured via the store’s CCTV camera.
Would having images of the inside of a store help or hinder internet sales? For smaller retailers, it could have a positive impact in terms of being able to build their credibility with in-store shoppers. And, linked to Google’s recent moves in the mobile couponing and 2D barcode space (see our earlier article) it could also throw up some interesting marketing opportunities too.
Definitely one to keep an eye on…