Browse stores virtually in 360-degree, panoramic images with Google’s interior maps

Orange Dots google maps interior businesses

Google has been mapping our world for quite some time now, giving us online access to the geography of the Wonders of the World, and even uninhabitable places. But among its pursuits with Google Maps since 2010, has been Business Photos, a program that works with businesses to map interiors of destinations, like cafés, restaurants, or shops.

The program, which started out with mapping airports, malls and large stores, has finally made its way onto Google Maps, and you can now view the interior of a business before you even step foot into the establishment. Using a network of “Trusted Photographers,” businesses can have Google’s freelance photographers capture images that offer visitors a 360-degree panoramic perspective of the full interior.

You shouldn’t expect every business you find on Google Maps to offer a public view of its interior to virtual visitors yet though. When we checked out the map, we noticed that the concentration of participating businesses were significantly higher in urban locations, which is to be expected.

To find participating locations, you’ll have to drag the orange Pegman along the streets to unveil the orange dots. If you let go of the Pegman, the dots that represent participating businesses disappear. As mentioned, there are only a limited number of businesses among the “thousands of participating businesses” that Google claims to have using this program throughout the world.

At the moment, the service could do with a few changes to improve a user’s experience. If you’re browsing Google Maps at Street View level, you’re still required to drag the Pegman over the mini map to the dot. Unfortunately, entering the establishment from Street View mode isn’t possible yet. But if you’re searching for a participating location, you can select a thumbnail of the interior in the left navigation panel that will directly take you inside of the establishment.

Aside from that caveat, we can see how interior images of small businesses could prove to be useful for potential customers. For example in Google’s blog post, a Google Product Manager Shailesh Nalawadi, provides a link to the interior of a resort in the Canary Islands in Spain. The images offer a full view of the interior of a hotel room that takes viewers from the living room through the bath and to the bedroom. Vacationers can catch a glimpse of what they can look forward to in a panoramic 360-degree perspective. Indoor mapping is starting to take off, giving users the ability to find their ways not only outdoors but in and around airports, malls, universities, and so on. 

To learn more about Google’s interior imagery addition to Google Maps, you can watch the video by Google below.