Google Tests New 360-Degree View Pilot Project On Local Businesses

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore joins Paris, Tokyo and London as one of the cities where Google’s newest experiment is playing out.

As Mike Schuh reports, a modification to its mapping program can take you into businesses for a look around.

Restaurateur Dimitris Spiliadis and his parents have built probably the nicest new restaurant you’ve never seen. The food is authentic country Greek. The view is unlike any other in Baltimore.

“That expression of the whole view from here is what I have been trying to express to everybody,” said Spiliadis, The Inn at the Black Olive.

For some restaurants, it’s all about the food. And for other restaurants, it’s all about the food and the view. But how do you entice customers to see such view if they’ve never been to the restaurant?

But then, a goliath of a company came calling.

“Google is where I learned everything that I know,” Spiliadis said.

Google approached The Inn At The Black Olive about a new project it’s testing to complement its street view software. It lets customers from their own computers see a 360-degree view from inside a business.

Spiliadis immediately saw the usefulness of this new Google product.

“All we need to do is get people to see the space,” he said.

Images have gone up on the web. You can even see the images from an individual table. Google came and took the pictures, and the service is free.

The next thing Google needs to work on is smell.

“Well, maybe they’ll get an interface,” Spiliadis said.

If they did that, it will crash the web.

Because this is a pilot program, a Google representative could not tell WJZ how many businesses in Baltimore are signed up. She did say there is a form on its site if any owners want to get the same 360-degree photos published of their businesses.

Business owners can ask Google to take down their pictures at any time.

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