Thursday, February 18, 2010

Google Store View Coming to Google Maps?

Google Store View Coming to Google Maps?

With Google Maps' Street View, you can view almost any street in America or almost any major city in the world, but what if you can go inside the buildings? That possibility may become a reality with the rumored Google Store View.

The blog Search Engine Land received an email from a New York city candy shop, Oh Nuts, which claimed a Google representative came inside and took pictures of the store and its products. The reason is supposedly because Google is working on a new feature, which is tentatively being called Google Store View.

While no one will confirm whether or not this really happened, the store did send in photos from store security cameras, which show someone walking around the store with a camera and tripod, taking pictures. When contacted by, Google would only say, "We are always experimenting with new features for Google Maps. We have nothing further to announce at this time."

If this really happens, it could change a lot of things about the way we shop. Customers could browse stores without leaving their homes, which is good for customers, not so much for businesses. Also, it would allow people to browse stores in locations they aren't familiar with or plan to travel to ahead of time. The other problem is the privacy concerns that often pop up with Google Maps. If people are worried about views of themselves outside of various places, you can bet they're going to be upset that they're being followed inside. Never mind the fact that it would take a lot of work on Google's part to get every store in the country to allow the photography.

While it's quite possible Google is experimenting with the idea, don't expect it to happen anytime soon. If the woman taking pictures inside the store really is with the company, her equipment doesn't really look like something they'd use for this type of venture. Also, it's a long road between one little candy shop in New York and the entire United States or even the entire city of New York.

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