Thursday, 29 April 2010

Google extends Street View to shop interiors

Many of you will be aware of Google's Street View product which enables consumers to see views of their high street from the comfort of their own home. Drapers has reported Google's plan to extend this product to include images of the interiors of retail stores. The initial test involves 30 towns and cities in the US, Australia and Japan. Any business that is signed up to Google's Places service, can now ask Google to visit their premises and carry out a free photo shoot of the interior of their business.

In order to avoid any issues surrounding privacy, Google explain on their "Business Pages" website, that they will adopt "state-of-the-art blurring technology to blur out faces of people who appear in the photos", but Google also recommend that businesses inform staff and customers when the photo shoot will take place so that people can move out of shot if they do not want to be photographed.

While this could be a new way for consumers to "browse" their favourite store remotely, retailers must be alive to the potential privacy issues and ensure that photos are approved before they are uploaded to the site. Ultimately retailers may prefer to drive traffic to their own e-commerce sites where they can control all aspects of their brand and imagery.