Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – If you’ve ever wondered what a particular local business looks like inside, Google will give you an unprecedented view.
A photographer for the Internet giant has been going from spot to spot in the Syracuse area this week, recording 360-degree virtual tours of the insides of businesses that sign up for the feature.
Starting outside the business and going every eight to 12 feet, photographer Jim Hilker snaps three pictures, each 90-degree turn until he’s gone in a full circle at each stop.
Google’s Street View feature allows maps users to zoom in to 360 degree, street-level looks at many streets in the world.
Now, for a one-time fee, the Inside feature goes farther, enabling businesses to show off their interiors.
Hilker has been shooting businesses all over Syracuse this week – including a Friday stint at NewsChannel 9.
"It's very non-intrusive. In fact there's many businesses I've gone into and I've done the entire photo shoot and left and a lot of people inside the business didn't even know I was there,” Hilker said.
Hilker said that businesses with mirrors and reflections from glass are tricky – and so are people in the shots. Because he’s taking three images at a time, people who don’t sit still long enough can turn out to be blurry.
Google is adding a significant number of businesses to the feature, but Hilker says many people are still unaware that it exists.
“It's catching on like crazy, right now we're adding about 3,000 businesses a month nationally, but there's still a huge number of businesses that don't know about this,” he said.
Hilker said the photography itself is easy. The most time-consuming part of the operation is uploading pictures and then digitally stitching the images to form the 360-degree view.
The largest subject anywhere in the world for Google Business Photos is Destiny USA.
With the help of two other photographers, Hilker said it took two 10-hour days to shoot the mall.
To see inside businesses using Street View or register your business, click here
Check out the image below to get an inside look at NewsChannel 9.View Larger Map