Google announced on Monday that they are releasing a new app on the latest Android operating system that will allow anyone to photograph spherical panoramas, which Google will process and include in Google Maps (with some restrictions). The service lets you shoot a spherical panorama, upload it to your Picasa account, share it, and see it on Google Maps. The intended effect is to have as many people as possible digitizing places and sharing them in the Google Maps database, where they will be correctly placed and accessible to anyone online. So soon you’ll be able to store photo spheres of your memories and explore the world through the eyes of other people on Maps.
Does this mean you can do your own Google virtual tour for your business? Not yet. Photo spheres are only singular spots (not a linked tour), aren’t shot with a professional camera at multiple exposures, aren’t properly leveled, aren’t allowed in public places, aren’t linked to Streetview, aren’t linked with your Google+ page, don’t appear in search results, and don’t include new Google Business View features being released, like the new multi-level feature. BUT it likely means that someday, as soon as technically feasible, Google will want to create a DIY option for business owners to make decent walk-through virtual tours of their own places using a mobile phone or tablet.
Will such a DIY virtual tour eventually put Look Inside Tulsa out of business? Not at all. We have many ideas for staying ahead of the technology curve and offering a service will always have high value to you. As we, and Google, and other companies innovate, the whole ecosystem will provide better and better solutions for your marketing needs. Rather than avoiding Photo Spheres, we would like to use them and help you use them right away to help you meet your goals. Let us know what ideas you have!