Back in February we explored the possibility of Google launching a “Store View” feature in Google Maps. It turns out we were (somewhat) right. On Tuesday, Google announced that its “Local Business Center” was becoming Google Places, and yesterday they elaborated on Places’ most interesting feature, images of store interiors on Place Pages. That’s right, Google has a crack team of photographers in 30 cities in the United States, Japan and Australia who will come to your store and take photos of the interior as well as things like “hours, rating decals, accessibility information, credit cards accepted, and posted menus.”
This sounds neat and if it took off could really make Google Maps one-stop shopping for store and restaurant information, which is clearly something Google‘s been after for a long time (see: Google’s aborted acquisition of Yelp). We’re disappointed, though that Google didn’t decide to launch this feature with an impressive, oh-my-gawd-this-is-the-future demonstration of a complete set of interior photos of every store in Manhattan. Have we finally found a task that’s too big even for Google? That all depends on how these Google Places fare, which will hopefully be better than Google Buzz. Remember that?