I think I have heard about a half a dozen different names for Google’s Virtual Tour program, currently called Business View. Among them are Google 360, Google Street View for Business, and See Inside View. I think it’s mainly due to lack of knowledge of the Business View product itself or people just say what ever comes to mind. But to confuse the masses even further, it looks like we are in for another re-branding of Google’s Virtual Tour program.
From 2011 to 2013, the program was called Google Business Photos. But when Google had made plans to use Business Photos in conjunction with G+Local they ended up changing the name to Google Business View. Which was a very relevant name that was easier to use, easier to sell, easier to remember and gave the program some validation as an Official Google product. Now the plan is to rename it as “Street View | Trusted”.
Knowing Google there has to be a very good explanation for it because they don’t do things just for the sake of doing them. Usually we don’t understand the reasoning until way later when they make changes to other products. Google did address it here on this Google Maps article released yesterday and combined it with the information of new cameras capable of doing Street View photography. With that said, I’m going to go out on a limb and give some pros and cons and even some educated speculation of my own as to what is happening and the affects it could have on Business View.
The Pro’s and Cons of the Re-Branding
1. What’s in the name?
Pro: The new name offers strength, longevity, and added trust within the minds of a consumer. It’s also beneficial to Google to simplify their various product names and their plans to do away with Google Views.
Con: With any re-branding, people will tend to get confused as to what the product or service actually is. Business View was very relevant and it spoke to the consumer and their business. The clarity of this product will subside. Let’s use Google Places as an example. It became Google+ for Business, G+Local, and now Google My Business. Recently, I was talking to someone who kept referring to it as Places. So there was still some confusion for them and I can’t imagine what will happen to Business View when people search for it.
2. Street View or Not?
Pro: Depending on the way you think and how you interpret information it might sound like a no brainer. The product lives on and is connected directly to Google Maps Street View, heck it even looks like Street View. But should it live by that name?
Con: Business owners are always asking:
- Are you the people that drive around in the car?
- Can you help me change the street view photo on the map?
- There is an old photo of our building on Google maps and it hasn’t looked that way for a few years now, can you retake that photo (Street View) for me?
The answers to these questions have always been, “No, we cannot.” The Google Street View cars do that and we are separate services.
If that is going on currently, then I can’t imagine how much more of these requests and questions we will get when people read “Street View | Trusted” on websites or flyers. This means there will need to be an increased amount of education and setting expectations during the sales process.
Unless, Google allows us as Trusted Photographers to help fix Street View. We all know it needs some TLC, wouldn’t that be something?
3. Less Processes and Requirements with More Improvements
Pro: There’s said to be some new things happening to the Business View program that will make it easier on the photographers and the business owners. It’s hinted that there will be less processes and fewer requirements for enrollment. What those are, we don’t know yet. We could imagine that this program might end up in the Street View department at Google which means more features, quicker bug fixes and more integration with other Google products. Which is a huge bonus for the business owner investing into their Virtual Tour.
Con: Until we know what these new components look like, all we can do for now is go off what was written in Google Maps Views article. But when we do find out it there shouldn’t be too many cons to discuss.
4. New products and partnerships under Street View
Pro: As we saw in the official announcement at Google Maps, it sounded like there was a need to use the Street View name due to a couple new spherical cameras that are hitting the market. They are the iris360 and the Giroptic360 cam. It would make sense that partnerships like these call for the need to consolidate Googles internal systems and branding for the sake of the general public. Resulting in more immersive content getting added to the Google maps by a Googler, business owners, a professional photographer and a Trusted Photographer. It’s a big win for the growth and the value it brings to Google.
Con: I already know what’s running through the mind of a Trusted Photographers. Here are a few concerns that I have already heard:
- What would happen to Trusted Photographers?
- Will we as Trusted photographers be out of a job?
- Will this water down the quality of Business View?
With these new products comes a new Street View app that seems to be able to bridge a gap between the camera and the Google Maps system using Wifi and Smartphone data connections. Thus possibly replacing the need for a Trusted Photographer.
What will the full capabilities of this app be? According to the article, it will allow a user to make full virtual tours out of Panoramic imagery like Trusted Photographers do? Here’s the image of Panoramic photos being connected via a software.
This image was last seen on the Official page for Google Photo Spheres. We can’t wait to find out more. One would think that it would still be more affordable to hire a Trusted Photographer than a utilize a DIY method that would cost $2000
Yesterday, I wrote about the affect these cameras might have on Business View and Trusted Photographers. Check out why it might not be a bad thing.
5. Trusted Photographers will still bring value
Pro: From the knowledge we currently possess, Trusted Photographers will still be able to do something that nobody else can do. And that is being able to publish these immersive 360 degree Virtual Tours to a Google+ Local page and having it show up on Google Search, Knowledge Panel and the Local Map Packs. Thus building the ultimate trust with Google.
Con: A business owner might end up paying several times for similar products.
Lets take an example of “Marketing Company A” offering a Virtual Tour to a business. The marketing company takes the photos and uploads them to the map. But there’s an issue, they are only visible from searching on the map. Later down the road a Trusted Photographer notices that this business doesn’t have the “See Inside” feature and approaches the owner with Street View for their Business. The owner exclaims, “I already paid for that from Marketing Company A!”
Now we have an issue. Business owners do not want to pay twice for something that is supposed to be a one time fee. And now Trusted Photographers will have to help in sorting this all out.
It’s amazing what a little re-branding and re-organizing can end up doing to Business View in 2015. It’s going to happen no matter what and to that – I say, Let’s do it! New challenges and new ways of doing things. As long as we can keep it fun and nobody gets hurt.
Now, I gotta run and start changing my flyers, business cards, this website and everything else that says Business View. More info will roll out as it becomes available.