Google Business Views to become Street View | Trusted

thumb-trusted-photographerThe long anticipated merger between the original Google Business Views program and Street View is nearly upon us…

Come September 3rd 2015, Google Business Views will officially become a part of the Google’s Street View program, and will be rebranded as “Street View | Trusted“.

The new Trusted program is expect to simplify the process of taking and publishing Panoramas and Virtual Tours to Google Maps.  It also makes the publication process accessible to everyone – although qualified and experienced photographers can still attain a “Certified” status.

 

Local Search Leads 50% Of Mobile Visitors To Visit Within One Day

google-local-business-centerGoogle’s research into local search behavior highlights that local searchers are ready to take action. According to their data, 50% of consumers who use their smartphone for a local search, visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. This shows that ranking in local search will have a direct impact on your in-store traffic.

To make sure you’re ranking for local search terms:

  • Get your business listed on Google My Business, and make sure your profile is complete. Also consider getting a Virtual Tour added.
  • Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across all channels. This includes your website, social media profiles, review sites and directory listings.
  • Use local business schema markup so Google can identify and show your physical location.
  • Use local keywords in your URLs, heading tags, title tags and content, where appropriate.

Why Local Businesses Still Need a Google Plus Business Page

Despite various changes to Google+ over the last couple of years – which suggest that Google is downplaying the relevance of Google+ as a social media platform, it is still critical for local businesses to have a Google+ Business Page.

Allow me to explain.

As local and mobile search becomes increasingly prevalent, small businesses who rely on the local economy for their livelihood, must take steps to improve their online visibility visibility, or risk losing ground to those who do.

Google links Google Plus with Google Search and Google Maps via the Google My Business (GMB) portal.

google-my-business

When you claim and verify your business listing using Google My Business, Google creates a Google Plus page for you. Users can show appreciation, give feedback with posts and reviews, and use the “+1” button to endorse your products and services.

Users logged into Google, who conduct a local search (E.g., restaurants Camp Hill), will see a list of local businesses appear among the top returns.

How to get the most from you Google Plus Business Page

Although you will probably see little activity on your Google Plus page, there are ways to you can use it to your benefit.

  1. google-business-pagesClaim and verify your Google My Business listing. A vital first step, GMB is the gateway to getting your business ranked in local search.
  2. Get a Virtual Tour.  If you have a physical business that is open to the public,  a virtual tour is an awesome way for them to visit your business online.  It encourages a physical visit, increases the likelihood of your business coming up in local searches, and can also be embedded into your website.
  1. Link to Google Plus from your website. Anyone interested in leaving a comment can use the link to gain access. It may also help you pick up a few followers.
  1. Post to your G+ page. If you’re already posting to Facebook and Twitter, add Google Plus to the list. Don’t expect much attention from followers, but searchers may find one of your posts appearing in Google search results. The more you post, the greater the likelihood that will occur.
  1. Remind your customers to leave feedback. This can bolster the number of reviews you receive, which can help your business stand out from sites that have fewer reviews.

The future of Google Plus is in flux but so long as Google ties the platform to Search and Maps, it’s important to have a presence there.

Google Announces Planned Changes to Business View & Street Views

Yesterday, on their public Google Maps and Earth Help Forum, Google announced some significant changes to Street View – which will involve a rebranding and restructure of their existing Business Views service.

New Street View app

Street ViewA NEW Street View app will replace the existing Photo Sphere Camera app – with both iOS and Android versions supporting Googles photo sphere camera mode. The app will be capable of linking to spherical cameras, including two at launch: the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam.

Street View | Trusted

A range of changes are also planned for the existing Google Maps Business View program. In mid–August, this certified photographer program will be rebranded as “Street View | Trusted.

It will continue to focus on supporting pro photographers who publish photo spheres to Google Maps, but will shed many of its stringent requirements :  enrollment will be easier; publishing requirements will be simpler; and publishing and editing reliability will be improved.

Google-MapsGoogle Maps

from around mid-August Photo sphere upload will be made available directly from the Google Maps website, and later in the year, Google Maps will re-introduce the lost support for creating connections between photo spheres (“constellations”) with a new, more automated solution.

New Google Photo Tools for Businesses

Google My BusinessNew Photo tools – designed to enable businesses to add their own unique photos to search listings, Google Maps and Google+ pages have been launched by Google.

The New feature (known as “Business Photos”) has recently been added to their My Business service, to allow business owners to more easily add their own photos to their Google+ Business Page.

All business owners need to do to enhance their listings is log onto Google My Business and visit the new “Photos” section to upload images of their own choosing. Owners can also update their public-facing profiles, add logos and cover photos.

Contact Us if you’d like to find put how to add  a Google Virtual Tour to your business, or of you’d like some help optimising your Google+ Page, or see How to add local business photos for more information.

Have You Seen Wally Lately ??

Wheres WallyWhether you know him as Wally, or Waldo, Willie, Walter, or even Charlie (depending on where you are in the world)…. most of us have spent many frustrating/entertaining hours trying to find him in one of the famous “Where’s Wally” picture books.

I recently decided to start to add something a little “extra” to the Google Virtual Tours that I create.  I thought that by subtely including some sort of character or figurine to my Business Views, I could make it a bit of a “signature” of my work – but at the same time also add an extra element of interest for the business (and potentially their customers).

I thought about lots of different things I could use… I wanted something small, but bright and easily recogniable… Thanks very much to Rory for suggesting Wally… I think it is just perfect because :

  • The figurine is small, bright and recognisable
  • Most of us are already used to searching for him
  • He is a photographer (and has a camera around his neck)

Actually finding a Wally figurine was harder than I thought (as they went out of production more trhe 25 years ago)… but I did manage to track some down, and have started (with my clients permisison), incorporating them into new Virtual Tours that I publish.

So far all my clients have loved the idea… it provides something a little quirky for their virtual tour…. and also gives them the potential to run a competition or offer a prize tpo encourage potential customers for taking a long hard look through their virtual tour.

See if you can find Wally in the tour below (there is only one to find) :

Virtual Dive Comes to Australia

Google’s Street View program has come to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (and coming soon to Sydney Harbour) in the form of Underwater Virtual Tours (aka Virtual Diving).

The Great Barrier Reef is the latest addition to Google’s 3D maps, which already provide virtual dives of other reefs around the world.

The images can be accessed through Google Maps and have been recorded from dozens of reef locations.


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World’s Largest Google Business Photos Project ?

A Hotel/Convention center in Madrid has recently completed what is said to be
the biggest ever Google Photos project yet carried out.

The Hotel Auditórium Madrid which has more than 800 rooms and nearly 60 separate convention/meeting rooms now offers a virtual tour via Google Business Photos.  Before booking accommodation or a meeting room, the client can see them and have an idea of their size and possibilities.

Google Business Photos provides a virtual experience through an interactive hotel tour of the inside provided by 360º linked photographs. This allows the user to visit the facilities – including the Principe Felipe Convention Center – just like they were  actually there.

Photography of the 15,000 m2 hotel took more than 12 hours by a Google Trusted Photographer  – resulting in more than 4,300 pictures that were then stitched together and processed by Google to provide the 360 degree virtual tour.


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Google Business Photos – Let Customers See Inside !!!

14 Reasons why Your Business Needs Business Photos

OK, so Business Photos and the capability to showcase your business with a virtual 3D Tour is pretty cool, but what are thge benefits and why would you want Business Photos for your business ?  Here are some reasons for yo to consider :

1. Raise the Profile of your business

Thousands of people search for local businesses every day on Google (you probably do it yourself).  Whether it is  restaurants, florists, garages, hotels or other retail shops or local services, people often usually include a “locality as a part of their search criteria. Google is the main source used to find local businesses and having a virtual tour of your business can make you stand out from the crowd and help attract local customers.

2. Haven’t I Been here Before ?

Allowing people to actually see inside your business gives them confidence and it truly feels like they been there before. People tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. People seeing your virtual tour are more likely to visit your business compared to a competitor which don’t have it.

3.Celebrate your Uniqueness

If your business have some unique or unusual characteristics and you believe it could grab attention, a virtual tour is an ideal way to showcase your business. Offering a virtual tour gives the customer a great first impression which can cause Internet users to visit the physical store.

4. Brings your business to life

High quality 360° photos make it possible for visitors to see your premises like an interactive tour.  This is likely to increase the amount of new visitors to your Google+ Profile, Google Maps, your business in Google search and ultimately, your business in real life !!

5. Add Google Business photos to your own website and share on Social Networks

Once you have Google Photos in place it is very easy to add a virtual tour to your own website, and also promot the photos and links vioa soclail media (Facebook, Twotter, etc…).

When having virtual tours on multiple websites, such as your Google+ page, Google maps, Facebook and your website – there are many new opportunities for users to share or like your business.

6. Your business shown in the best light

Trusted Photographers have been trained by Google and have proven skills and experience to enable them to photograph your business in the best light. Every single business photo used in your virtual tour is taken in 3 different exposure modes, to ensure that your business in presented in the best possible light.

7. Enhance your business listing

Your Business Photo images and virtual tour will appear on Google search results, Google+ Local, and Google Maps. Web users love clicking on images and seeing inside. So this will surely lead to more people seeing your premises and services and most likely also attracting more customers.

8. Allow potential customers to explore online

Potential customers can engage and explore, walk-through, and truly experience your business. In many cases, this leads them to visit your shop, salon, garage, gym or restaurant.

9. Featured on your own Google+ page

With Google business photos your virtual tour is  prominently featured on Google+ Local. If you haven’t already uploaded Point of Internet (POI) photos, your trusted photographer can also update your Google+ listing with new and interesting photos of prominent features in your business.

10. All photos belong to you

The photographer assigns all ownership rights in the photographs (including intellectual property rights) to Business. You get full rights over all the photos and it’s free to use these images on your website, in newspaper adverts, magazines, outdoor advertising or anywhere else you wish. Your trusted photographer will send over all images on Google+ or if you prefer to have images on a disc, that can also be arranged.

11. You don’t need a website

You can take advantage of Google business photos without having a website. All photos will be uploaded to your Google+ page profile.

12. Encourage positive reviews

Having a virtual tour of your business can encourage visitors to leave reviews.

13. More repeat business

With plenty of similar businesses, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Having Google business photos certainly help people to recognise the premises and making them more likely to return. Because if they cannot find the address to your premises there will never return.

14. Anyone searching for your services might see it

People searching for services and restaurants in local search are likely to see Google business photos. After all, people love looking into businesses and Google tend to show users what they want to find. Businesses with virtual tours, incoming links and many reviews by users are usually more likely to be shown in Google, Google+ Local and Google maps.