“No, seriously, I can see the outside of your house”
“You’re freaking me out. You live in London don’t you?”
It was years ago that I was chatting to a mate on MSN Messenger (another sign of how long ago it was) who lived in Bournemouth. He was indeed correct, I did live in London. It was the day that Google Street View rolled out the national coverage of the UK. Instantly, you could see exactly where your friends lived. You could search for cool places, celebrity houses, and for some weird reason, the first place you’d search was always your own home.
Suggestion: Stand up, walk outside, use your eyes.
Today however, Google went that extra mile, as they always do. Today they rolled out their Street View indoors. Whereas before you could look at a shop, or restaurant, with longing eyes, now they welcome you in. Except of course, this adds to the pain of what you may be potentially be missing out on, by staring at said restaurant, on a monitor in front of you.
‘Google Business Photos’, as it is supposed to be named, is to allow businesses the opportunity for a photographer to take a picture of their business, put it up on their Street View service to allow for consumers and potential patrons to have a bit of a nose around before they come to the establishment.
To me, it’s brilliant. Maybe it is because I am exactly the type that wants to know exactly what is going on before I go to a place, but you can tell a lot about a place from the interior that you can’t from the exterior. I learnt that on Grand Designs.
Of course, there will be those that scream ‘PRIVACY!’, ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’, and ‘I DON’T TAKE A GOOD PHOTO!’ but these are all insignificant claims.
One – it is a voluntary service. Whereas Google Street View wasn’t, Business Photos is a decision by the owner to show off their place. They agree to it, and it can surely provide excellent publicity.
Two, employers and visitors will be warned when the shooting is taking place. And their faces will be blurred. Privacy is not an issue. If we got tetchy about every time we were under CCTV surveillance, we wouldn’t leave the house. (Although that could be Google’s next step.)
Lastly, copyright issues may crop up here and there, as Google would presumably own the rights to the photos it takes. However, Google have said if the owner does not want the photos used for anything else, there is an opt out service.
The only concern I have for it is the fact that big-brand chains will not be photographed, and whether Gregg’s comes under this bracket. If it is photographed, not only will I have longing eyes, but also a drooling mouth.
Maybe it’s because I am nosey. Maybe it’s because I am unlikely to be majorly affected by photographs being taken. However, as a consumer, I would love to see whether the pub I’m going to is blood-stained or wine-stained. The sooner Google can photograph absolutely everything, the better. I’ve had enough of going to places I think will be nice, only for it to turn out rubbish. Google Business Photos could finally be the solution.