Ever wish you could check out a business before actually giving them your business? That time has arrived. Austin was the test market for Google Business Photos, a concept that's really taking off.
"Everybody has the dream of flying and we make that a reality," said Stuart Wallock, Chief Marketing Officer for iFLY Indoor Skydiving.
This Austin based company opened its high-tech indoor wind tunnel in January in Northwest Austin. Its 25th location open just last week in the United Kingdom. The ability to reach potential customers at home is why iFLY has signed on with Google's Business Photos.
"The Google maps is a whole other foray for us to show off the inside of our building, to show off the wind tunnel, to show off people flying in a 3D, 360 environment," said Wallock.
Bruce Malone is what is called a Google Trusted Photographer. The 360 degree view he captures will allow customers to see and make decisions about a business.
"It's different than a video in that you can do it at your own pace. You can stop, zoom in, zoom out and really get a good idea of what the business looks like," said Malone
The pictures he takes will be compiled into a fluid composition that allows you to move through a business. You can do it on any device that you use Google on.
We first saw this technology in 2007 with Google Street view. The pictures allow us to go from Austin to Amsterdam without ever leaving home. Now we can step right inside a business without ever leaving home which for companies is invaluable.
"We have some stuff that's very rare to see in the car business and unique to our dealership," said Will Hardeman, Managing Partner of Continental Automotive Group which owns First Texas Honda.
Stuff like a cavernous maintenance facility, a full service coffee shop, even a stocked music stage ready to jam.
"The trend in the industry these days is to offer as much online content as you can to the online shopper," said Hardeman.
You take the tour by looking at a company's search profile then clicking the "see inside tab."
"You know when Google comes in and does an online tour of our dealership it adds a great amount of credibility to our business," Hardeman told KVUE.
And Google Business Photos put the businesses in front of many more eyes.
"Our customers appreciate that once they get here we're the real deal," said Hardeman.
A photo shoot will cost between 300 dollars and 1,000 dollars. The photos will be up and running for a business usually within a week.