February 04, 2010, 3:55 PM — Google is taking pictures inside stores for a new service called "Google Store Views," according a new rumor. A retailer claims that Google photographers came inside his store and took a picture in all directions ever six feet on every isle.
The rumor comes to us from Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Land blog, who claims the retailer, who owns a store called "Oh Nuts," took Street View like pictures inside the store, and also took pictures of specific products. They even have pictures of the photographer taking pictures. (See the photo below. It looks to me like security cam footage.)
The idea, of course, is that you could see outside the store with Google Street Views, then virtually walk in the door and do some virtual shopping. That Google would do something like this without the permission of store owners is inconceivable. That they would do it as a kind of promotion paid for by the store owners seems likely. After all, Google sells ads. There has to be some new ways to sell ads inside Google Maps and Street View.
One possibility is that somebody is being punk'd. For all we know given the information available, the photograph was from rival "Nuts 'R' Us" and merely claimed to be from Google so he could do some intel on a competitor. It could be a publicity stunt by the "Oh Nuts" people themselves. Or it could be a prank being pulled by someone without any connection to nuts of any kind.
In any event, it's potentially interesting. I'll keep you posted on any further developments.
(Thanks to Search Engine Land)