Google Maps Street View Goes Indoors, with Permission

By Wesley Fenlon

Photos on Google Places pages are nothing new, but the company's ramping up its indoor mapping project to add 360 degree Street View navigation to local businesses.

In an inevitable extension of business Places pages on Google Maps, Google's going indoors. It was only a matter of time--after all, Google kicked off the indoor mapping initiative with a pilot in May. Photographed businesses have 360 degree photos posted on their Places pages. And the selection's expanding.

Business owners have to sign up to have their locations scouted by Google photographers. Though Google's currently focused on select cities, the list is surprisingly long: some of the biggest cities in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are represented. Google even has a selection of the photos built into a fun street view embed. Privacy shouldn't be an issue--after all, business owners have to intentionally choose to have their establishments photographed--but we can't stop imagining hacker movies using this as a plot point.

Google does keep the rights to the photos it takes but has a system in place for business owners to request photos be taken down. And if you fancy uploading your own pictures, Places allows that--the big advantage of Google's photography is the stitched-together 360 degree shots used for Street View.