Business Photos Pilot: your business with a 360-degree perspective

When you are looking for a restaurant in San Francisco, you can browse photos to see if the ambiance is right for the occasion. With our Business Photos pilot, we’ve been photographing businesses, with their permission, to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out. In addition to the photos that business owners can upload directly through Google Places, these photos help potential customers get a better view of the decor, merchandise, food, and more on each business’ Place page.

Gruhn Guitars Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, United States

We’ve also been taking 360-degree photography to help businesses owners showcase their locations further, and starting today you can experience that panoramic perspective for select businesses in the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

This experience, using Street View technology, includes 360-degree imagery of the business interior and storefront. With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves at the business and decide if they want to visit in person.

Tenkai, Kyoto, Japan

We’re now starting to make these images available through the Place pages of select businesses we’ve photographed. When 360-degree imagery of a business is available, you’ll see an arrow appear over the thumbnail Street View image on that business’ Place page. Press the arrow to preview the storefront or interior, then click on the thumbnail to see the image in Street View.

Storefront thumbnail for Susan Avery Flowers and Event Styling in Australia

With this pilot, you’ll begin to see additional photo experiences on the Place pages of a growing number of businesses. As additional imagery becomes available for more locations in the coming months, you’ll also be able to enter the interior perspective of businesses directly from the Street View images of nearby roads on Google Maps.

We’re continuing this program with businesses in select cities in the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, UK, South Korea, and France. If you would like to highlight your business to Google Maps users, please visit the Business Photos site to learn more and apply.

Google Maps: See the world through a lens with the Panoramio Layer

When looking at a Google Map it’s not always easy to get a sense for what the area looks like on the ground. Satellite imagery can indicate the terrain, whether it is urban or rural, desert or mountainous, and Street View can help in built up areas. But to convey the beauty of more scenic locations you really need a photograph.

For this reason we’re happy to make available the Photos layer from Google Maps to Maps API developers. The Photos layer adds thumbnails of geotagged photos to the map, which are sourced from Panoramio. They are a great way to add additional context to a map, and an on the ground perspective. Photos can be added to an API map using the PanoramioLayer class of the new Panoramio library. We have also added some additional flexibility to enable you to customize both the behaviour of the layer and the thumbnails shown by your application.

Firstly, applications can listen for clicks on the photo thumbnails and obtain information about the thumbnail concerned, which can then be used to load the photo using the Panoramio Widget API. Secondly, applications can also restrict the thumbnails shown to those of a particular user, or those with a particular tag. This allows you to only show thumbnails for photos that you have uploaded to Panoramio, or only show photos relating to a specific subject, such as beaches. You can try experimenting with different tags in the example below:

For more information on using the PanoramioLayer, please take a look at the Maps API documentation. As always, if you have any questions about using this or any other Maps API feature, we recommend the Maps API forum. We hope this new layer will help to brighten up your maps, and help your users get a better sense of the landscape you are mapping.