Google takes a hi-res peek inside businesses

Google Maps and search users can now get inside selected businesses without leaving the house. Starting last week, high-resolution photos of the interiors of businesses began appearing on Google Place pages after the search giant began uploading the results of a pilot program.

Place pages are linked to Google search results, as well as Google Maps results.

In April, Google announced it would send a team of professional photographers to businesses in around 30 cities around the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand to capture interior images that would be added to Google Place pages. Businesses were invited to apply to have their stores photographed.

Writing on Google Australia's official blog, Product Manager Gadi Royz said the aim was to give users and potential customers a sense of what a business is really like without having to visit in person.

''For example, if you’re looking for the perfect restaurant to make a good impression on a first date, the high-quality interior photos might help you decide if the ambiance and atmosphere of a particular place are right for the occasion you’re planning,'' he said.

Google will continue to add more images in coming weeks, and businesses can request a visit from a Google photographer.

The new images coincided with the launch of Google Place Search, which the search giant claims will make it easier to find relevant information that's local to the user. To check out Place Search, use the ''Places'' link in the sidebar of a search results page.


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