Posted 7:44 AM 9/6/2012 : Tucson photographer shoots "store view" for Google
TUCSON- Google is now bringing Tucson businesses to life by giving customers a virtual tour of stores and restaurants.
The search engine recently launched a program where contracted "Google Trusted Independent Photographers" provide 360-degree interactive panoramas of the insides of businesses. It's similar to Google Street View, except inside.
Mike Leland is a "Google Photographer" in Tucson. So far he has photographed about 25 local businesses.
"It provides potential customers a chance to look around and get a feel for the business," Leland says.
News 4 Tucson tagged along as he snapped photos of the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures on Camp Lowell. "Our story is really hard to tell without a visual," says Gentry Spronken, Director of Marketing and Communications and the museum.
Now thanks to Leland, customers can understand what the museum is all about, just by searching for it on Google. "People don't know what to expect and so the visual is so important to us and they can see this is a state of the art building, with high quality exhibits, and it gets them more excited about visiting," Spronken says.
Here's how it works. Leland will spend about an hour at a location, snapping close to 400 photos. "We do anything from small shops, restaurants, to large museums," Leland says.
He takes the photos in a circular fashion, then Google stitches them together into a virtual tour.
The businesses also get copies of the still photos taken by Leland. "It's really exciting for me to be able to bridge the gap between the small business owner and what was once only attainable by a large businesses, in terms of marketing," Leland says.
Tucson is now one of about 30 cities across the country with Google photographers. To find out more about the program head to www.maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/
You can also check out Leland's business and find out how much he charges by heading to www.azbusinessview.com
To view his virtual tour of the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, just type the name in Google and click on the photo underneath the map that says "See Inside". By clicking on the arrows you can zoom in, out and travel all around the musuem.
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