Lafayette

Aug 8, 2012 11:19 PM by Maddie Garrett

Small Businesses Get Boost from "Google Business" Virtual Tours

Google Maps is taking it one step further, going inside stores, and it's happening across Acadiana. It's called Google Business and only locally owned business can get in on the action.

With the click of a button, Sharper Photography owner Cory Fontenot can turn the inside of a store into a virtual place.

"We'll actually travel the space as if you were actually browsing the space to give you an overall experience of the space."

That's pretty important to Genterie Supply Co. co-owner John Petersen. With antiques and moose heads scattered throughout his men's store, it's obvious that this isn't your average shop.

"I mean, this is a man's store, and so we want men to start seeing shopping differently. And so being able to virtually visit us online lets them know like, hey this is safe territory," said Petersen.

Google Business shows up when you search for a business on Google Maps. The map and location of the business shows up, along with a picture you can click to look inside the store. It works just the same as Google's Street View, allowing you to visually more throughout the store.

Tfrere's House owner Maugie Pastor said she knew Google Business was just what she needed.

"I just said, that's it, that's the thing that would help this business, if they see this house, inside. It's beautiful outside but wait till you come inside it's gorgeous," said pastor.

The idea behind it all is helping out small businesses.

"What a way to advertise your business is what I'm thinking," said Pastor.

And that includes the Google Trusted Photographer behind the lens.

"Google did a really great thing with letting the little man help out another little man," added Fontenot.

Small business owners can sign up for Google Business online by going to: maps.google.com/businessphotos.

There you can find a certified Google Trusted Photographer in your area, set up a price and time to meet with the photographer and usually the virtual tour is online within a few days.

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