When Chris Breeden at Arnold’s
wanted his historic business to be the first in the city to offer an interior tour via Google maps, he turned to his neighbors at Alias Imaging for help. He’d seen how Google maps offered 360-degree tours of businesses on the East and West coasts as a way to offer viewers the chance to get a sense of a place’s architecture and ambiance long before, and after, they’d paid a visit.
With help from Alias Imaging
, led by co-owners and founders John Carrico and Adam Henry, Arnold’s became the first Cincinnati business featured by Google in a virtual tour
In the process, Carrico and Henry launched a new business, Alias 360 Photos
, and became “Google Trusted Photographers” in order to add panoramic tours to Google Maps’ pages. Henry explains the certification wasn’t an easy process. “It’s not like we just shoot and upload,” Henry says. “It seems simple and natural, but it’s quite painstaking.”
While the duo of polished commercial photographers have worked for a wide range of commercial clients, from Procter & Gamble to local ad agencies to independent businesses like Arnold’s, the certification process required new training on an exacting process that requires them to take dozens of pictures from nearly every vantage point, then use specialized software to conform to Google specifications. On top of all of that, each tour must be aligned with Google satellite images.
“The weirdest thing to me is that it requires so many pictures,” says Henry, who, along with Carrico, also provides the photography and video for The Queen City Project
, a partnership with Bluestone Creative
that has often been featured on Soapbox.
Because of the tight guidelines, businesses can be assured of high-quality tours that literally add three dimensions to their web presence. Henry sees that as a cost-effective opportunity, especially for smaller businesses. “For hundreds of dollars, you can get thousands of dollars of material which is priceless exposure on the internet,” he says.
Once businesses contract with Alias 360 Photos to create their virtual tours, the photographers get to work, estimating they need no more than a couple of hours of time on-site to get the photos they need. After that point, the Google content is managed for the businesses. “They basically get a whole new website built for them that is hosted on Google places,” Henry says.
By Elissa Yancey
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