How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page

Once a Google Virtual Tour has been published, it can be accessed direct from Google Search or Google Maps, but can also be used in a variety of other ways… You can send links to any view of a Google Virtual Tour, or Embed the tour into your website.  This post provides simple instruction on how you can embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page.

First you need to Install a special App called Woobox – this allows you to create a Tab on your preferred Facebook page and insert HTML code into to.  To achieve this, Login to your Facebook account, navigate to the Woobox App and install it by clicking on the Install Page Tab link.

Then select which Facebook Page you would like to add the Tab to  and click on the Add Page Tab Button


After you click the  “Add Page Tab” button, you then you need to authorize the tab application.

Now open a new browser window and go to your Google Virtual Tour in Google Maps (this is important because only Google Maps now includes the embed option). Navigate to the place in the tour you want to start from.  Click on the “three dots” icon in the top left corner and select the “Sher or embed image” option… Click the “Embed Image” Tab; Set the custom width/height to 800 x 600 and Copy the embed code.

Now go back to your Facebook tab page and paste the code from your Google Maps embed into your Woobox custom facebook tab.  Save the settings, then go to “Tab Settings” to give the Tab a suitable title.

That’s it! Visit your facebook page and view your tab. This is what is should look like: Virtual Tour Examples

 

 

 

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.

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.

How to become a Trusted Photographer?

Currently there are fewer than 30 Google approved Trusted Photographers in Australia – mostly in Capital Cities as outlined below :

  • Sydney (3)
  • Melbourne (5)
  • Perth (4)
  • Brisbane (2)
  • Adelaide (4)
  • Other NSW (3)
  • Other VIC (1)
  • Other QLD (1)

It is pretty straightforward to apply to become a trusted photographer  (the application process is open to anyone – including amateur and professional photographers), but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available about exactly what the process is largely apparently because of an NDA that you will need to sign early on in the process).

This post attempts to collate information about what is involved in the process of getting approval as a Trusted Photographer.

Why become a Business Photos Trusted Photographer?

As a Business Photos Trusted Photographer you build relationships with local businesses and work with them to photograph their space.Google will provide you with the training and support needed to capture Street View imagery which will be published on Google Maps. As a qualified Business Photos Trusted Photographer you are able to run your own independent business (with free training and support from Google).

Apply to be a Google Trusted Photographer

The initial step to apply to be a trusted photographer is quite straight forward.  It is open to experienced  photographers – not necessarily just those already involved in a professional photography business.  There are a few suggested criteria though :

According to Google, you will need :

  • A passion to run a successful high volume photography business.
  • A commitment of 30+ hours a week to the Business Photos Trusted Photographer program
  • Proven tele-sales or door-to-door sales skills
  • Your own photography equipment (specific camera bodies and lenses do apply)
  • a Business license
  • a Computer with high-speed internet
  • a Gmail account
  • Your own photography business website

Once your application is processed, and Google determines that there really is a need for extra Trusted Photographers in your area, initial contact will probably be from a Google Rep via phone and  you may be contacted by Google for a “trial run”.    At this stage you will be sent a Non Disclosure Agreement and some training material,

What do I need to Learn

Google runs a free training program designed to teach experienced (not necessarily professional) photographers through the process required to take and submit photos for Google to “stich” into virtual walkthroughs.

You will need to study Google’s training material, and complete a test to prove that you have a clear understanding of the concepts it covers. If you successfully complete  this part of the process, you will be required to shoot some samples to submit to Google to ensure that you are able to meet required standards for quality-control purposes.

What Equipment Do I Need?

There are specific Camera Body and Lens combinations that are considered as acceptable equipment (these are not necessarily top end gear, you may actually need to down-grade), so if you you don’t already have the right equipment you may need to invest in some.  If you need to buy it all – the investment is likely to cost between $2,000 and $4,000, but most experienced photographers should have some (or all) of the gear already… and in the scale of things the cost is likely to be quickly recovered within a few sales.

The gear requirements does change from time to time, but apparently includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following, Note this list is vague because publication of the actual list is restricted by the NDA, but it should give you some idea of what to ex[ect.

  • Canon EOS 7D Body
  • Sigma 8mm circular fish-eye lens
  • Canon 8-15mm f/4 L fish-eye lens
  • An Android phone (various models suitable)
  • A sturdy tripod and panoramic tripod head (e.g. Nodal Ninja R10) is also required

 Techy Photo Stuff

It is understood that Google requires photographs to be ‘bracketed’ to give 3 exposures (for HDR processing) at 90 degree rotations -i.e.  a total of 12 images for each location. Photos are to be taken with the panorama head set at 7.5 degrees above the horizon to give a good overlap at the top of the images, while leaving a small area omitted at the bottom of each shot where the head/tripod would appear.

Once the photos are taken there may need to be some post processing before they are provided to Google, along with some info about the layout of the business and exactly where each photo series was taken (this is necessary to create the virtual tour).  Google then “stitches” together the panorama for each spot, and creates the virtual tour map – they will also blur any faces (for privacy).

 See also :

Google’s Official Become a Trusted Photographer today  page

If you know any more about the recommended equipment or the process associated with becoming a trusted photographer… please leave a comment 🙂

 

What is a Panoramic Tripod Head?

A panoramic tripod head is a piece of photographic equipment, mounted to a tripod, which allows photographers to accurately shoot a sequence of images that can be used to produce a panorama, with minimum parallax problems.

A panoramic tripod head keeps the point of view of the camera stationary by placing it in the axis of rotation.

The purpose of a panoramic head is to allow you to accurately position your camera so that when you turn it you are turning it about the no-parallax-point of your lens. By rotating the camera around this point, you avoid parallax.

A panoramic head allows you to get the best possible pictures to produce the best possible panoramas and makes shooting the pictures much easier, and in a more systematic and, making it easier to stitch the pictures together afterwards.

To take a panorama, the camera is rotated at fixed angular increments, taking an image at each point. These images can then be assembled (stitched) using stitching software, which allows the images to be aligned and combined into a single seamless panoramic image.

How to avoid parallax

If everything in a scene is approximately the same distance from the lens, or very far away, the parallax effect will be eliminated or at least minimized. This is why hand-held panoramas from a mountain top tend to work quite well – everything is far away from the camera, and because the distances are very large compared to the tiny distance between the nodal point and the point of rotation, parallax is negligible.

Wide angle lenses can help reduce parallax effects because a wide angle lens accentuates perspective, making everything seem further away. However wide angle lenses also have a larger field of view so there is a greater chance that things in the foreground (including the ground itself) are captured and then cause problems. Providing there are no foreground objects juxtaposed against far away objects parallax will be minimized and you may be able to successfully post-edit any glitches in the stitch to achieve a good image. Conversely long focal length lenses compress perspective, exaggerating parallax effects.

The only way to eliminate parallax entirely is to use a panoramic head, which allows you to accurately position your camera so that when you take the pictures you are rotating the camera around the nodal point of the lens.

How to Embed Google Business Photos on your Website

Once you have a Google Business Photos listing activated for your business, a very powerful way to capitalise on it to promote your business is buy embedding the virtaul tool on your website or even as a post.

Fortunately, the way to do this is pretty straight forward.  This post provides simple, step by step instructions on how to embed Business Photos into your own website.

One of the great features of this process is that you can embed the virtual tour starting ant ANY point you like within the tour, so you can feature important aspects of your business, or even do multiple embeds highlighting different areas of your business on different part ts of your website.

To embed a virtual tour :

  1. Go to your Virtual Tour
  2. Run your tour and navigate to the viewpoint you want your vistor to start at
  3. Click the Link tool
  4. Copy the  HTML code
  5. Paste it into the relevant area of your website (you may need to send this code onto your developer if you are not sure what to do – andn if you are using WordPress – make sure that you paste it in in the” HTML” – not “Visual” – view)

The virtual tour below is for a Brisbane Hotel using all the default settings

View Larger Map

Customising the HTML

It is also possible to customise the size and look of the embeddede virtual tool.  before copying the code (Step 4 abopve), click on the “Customise and preview embedded map” link whioch will provide a popup window like the image to the right which allos yopu to custopmsie the size of the vurtual tour you wish to embed.