Google Street View “rolled out in Canada yesterday morning”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/google-street-view-now-available-in-canada. While many people are finding it to be one of the Internet’s greatest time occupiers, it does have important ramifications for your business.
*Google Street View* is essentially a street level enhancement to Google’s powerful online mapping system – Google Maps. Users can now zoom in on any address in a major metropolitan Canadian city to see a panoramic view of the area. Below are some examples of Google Street View in action at some of Calgary’s most famous intersections.
But as a small business how is this new feature important to you? Right now it seems like a nice novelty, but what will it mean for potential customers?
First and foremost, if you happen to run a storefront business; a repair shop, a flower shop or a clothing store, when potential customers use Google Maps to find your location they will now see a street level view of your storefront. Unfortunately, for a business standpoint there is no control over the view that is available for customers to look at. Any business with information updated on Google will be tied to this viewpoint, whether it’s a flattering photo or not.
Second, if you are a Realtor or a business tied directly to the Housing Market, Google street view will be an important tool for your business. Not only will users be able to see an honest street level view of your property, but they will be able to explore the surrounding neighbourhood and the local amenities. Again, depending on the state of the property and the time the Google Car visited your neighbourhood, this might not be the most flattering photo.
So What Should You Do?
It would be almost impossible to fight the impact Google Street View will have on your business. Google’s current stanglehold on user search and business information is impossible to ignore. So our advice would be to *embrace the service*.
Google allows you to embed the streetview application directly into any web page, so leverage this feature. For Realtors this means embedding street views of you properties directly in to your showcase page. For businesses with store fronts, this means embdedding the application on your contact us page and replacing that outdated Google map.
Google Street View might seem gimiky at first, but like all of Google’s previous technological breakthroughs the business ramifications will become apparently very shortly. So rather than fight it, embrace it.