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Google offers to pop round and take some piccies

Takes the View off the streets: Go on, just a few tasteful snaps

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Google is asking businesses to invite it in to take photographs, extending Street View into hotels, restaurants and shops to show what's inside as well as what's outside.

The project is called "Business Photos" and involves a Google photographer dropping by for an hour or so to take a series of panoramic shots. Some of those are then uploaded onto the Google Places page for that business. After the usual blurring of faces, the business owner is then free to add photos of their own or request that Google remove any which cast the business in a bad light.

Google retains ownership of the images, as usual, and is free to use them for anything else it wishes; the business owner won't even get to see the pics before they're uploaded. But the service is free and Google promises its snappers are "trained to take panoramic pictures using fisheye and wide angle lenses that should translate into great-looking pictures of your business".

For the moment they are just pictures, but Google admits that "over time [the photographs] may be stitched together into a panoramic view". So it's not hard to imagine being able to take Street View off the street and into business premises around the world.

Right now, that's mainly America and Japan, though London and Paris do make the list and Google is asking for submissions from anywhere to judge demand. Google says it hopes that applications will come from retail shops and storefront businesses, but you can bet we'll be nominating Vulture Towers as an ideal place to start the London coverage. ®

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