Frequently Asked Questions
The Sign-up Process
- How can Business Photos help my business?
- Why are businesses being photographed and how can I see the pictures?
- What will the Trusted Agency do that I can't do myself?
- Where are Trusted Agencies currently active?
- Can a business anywhere in the world apply for a photo shoot?
- Are there any restrictions on what type of businesses can participate?
- What is the relationship between a Trusted Agency and Google?
- What is the cost to have my business photographed?
- If I apply through this programme, am I committed to participating?
The Photo Shoot
- How can I coordinate a photo shoot?
- What do I do if a Trusted Agency is unavailable or unresponsive?
- How long will the photo shoot take?
- What do I need to do to prepare my business for the photo shoot?
- Which areas of my business will be photographed?
- Will the photo shoot disrupt my business operations?
- Will people be included in the photo shoot?
Privacy and Legal
- What measures are in place to ensure privacy and legal compliance?
- Who from my business can give legal permission for the photo shoot?
- Will Google be using the imagery in other applications besides Google+ Local pages?
- Do I own the photographs taken by a Trusted Agency?
- Can I review the photos after they are taken and before they go live on my Google+ Local page?
- Can I blur the images or take all panoramas down from my business listing?
- Could my photos be removed for other reasons?
- If I'm not the business owner, can I request the removal of a photo?
The Sign-up Process
How can Business Photos help my business?
When potential customers search for your business by name on Google, they will see the images displayed directly on the search results page. These panoramic images will also be published on Google+ Local pages, Google Maps and other Google properties and give customers a better sense of the layout, decor and beauty of your business interior. With easy-to-use html snippets or Maps APIs, you can also link to these images from your own business website, thus attracting potential customers who visit your website too.
Why are businesses being photographed and how can I see the pictures?
Google Trusted Agency photographers are taking high-quality still photographs that will be stitched into 360-degree views using panoramic camera technology. These Trusted Agency photographers are independent contractors who have been trained and certified by Google to produce high quality panoramic images. As a business owner, you can also upload your own photographs to Google by signing into Google+ Local. You'll be able to see the photos and 360-degree panoramic imagery directly in Google search results and on your Google+ Local page.
What will the Trusted Agency do that I can't do myself?
Trusted Agency photographers are trained to take high quality photos of building interiors, working with common challenges such as low lighting and tight spaces. The photographers are also certified to take pictures using fisheye lenses and rotating camera turrets (mounted on tripods) that, once uploaded to Google’s processing pipelines by the photographers, will be transformed into 360-degree panoramic imagery and a walk through of your business. Once the photographers have uploaded the pictures from their cameras, Google’s processing pipelines use sophisticated image stitching, HDR, image matching and other techniques to produce these panoramic walkthroughs.
Where are Trusted Agencies currently active?
Trusted Agencies are scheduling photo shoots with business owners in the U.S., Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Singapore and India. Even if we aren’t currently active in your area, you can always upload your own photos via Google+ Local.
Can a business anywhere in the world apply for a photo shoot?
Yes! It's great to see interest from around the world, and your requests will help us decide where to expand this programme next.
Are there any restrictions on what type of businesses can participate?
We do not allow Trusted Photographers or Trusted Agencies to upload imagery of legal establishments. We also do not allow imagery of museums to be uploaded through the Business Photos program, as this imagery is supported in Google Art Project.
What is the relationship between a Trusted Agency and Google?
Trusted Agency photographers are independent contractors/businesses that are not employed by Google, agents of Google or affiliated with Google in any way. Google has certified them because they meet Google’s standards of quality for taking the feature pictures and panoramic pictures, uploading them, moderating them and eventually publishing them on Google properties.
What is the cost to have my business photographed?
Because Trusted Agencies are not employees or affiliated with Google, they decide how much to charge for their services. We expect the Trusted Agencies to offer their services at a fair market value and you may negotiate with them to come to an acceptable price for the service. Prior to any photo shoot, the Trusted Agencies will present the Service Agreement, specifying their services, for your acceptance. The agreement also states (among other things) that, in return for your payment to the Trusted Agency, you will own the images that have been taken.
If I apply through this programme, am I committed to participating?
No. Once you apply, if and when a Trusted Agency becomes available in your city, the Trusted Agency will contact you to discuss details and obtain your confirmation before photographing your business.
The Photo Shoot
How can I coordinate a photo shoot?
First, review the list of Trusted Agencies on this website to see if there is one in your city and contact them directly to schedule a photo shoot. If you are unable to schedule a photo shoot, or if there is no Trusted Agency listed for your city, please fill in the online application.
What do I do if a Trusted Agency is unavailable or unresponsive?
If a Trusted Agency is unavailable or unresponsive, please provide us with your business and contact details on the 'Apply now' button. However, please be aware that we are currently only offering Business Photos in a limited number of cities and it may be a while before we can assist you. Thanks for your understanding.
How long will the photo shoot take?
In most cases, a photo shoot will take about an hour, but this varies depending on the size of your business.
What do I need to do to prepare my business for the photo shoot?
You are welcome to clean and tidy things up prior to the photography session, but remember that the aim of the photographs is to show customers what they would expect to see if they visited your business on a normal day.
Which areas of my business will be photographed?
Photo shoots will include the main customer-facing areas of your business. You can work with the photographer to determine which areas of your business you would like to highlight, or even exclude from the shoot. Once again, the goal of the photographs is to show customers what they would expect to see if they visited your business on a normal day.
Will the photo shoot disrupt my business operations?
We know you’re running a business, and that’s why we have designed photo shoots to be as non-disruptive as possible. Trusted Agencies and their photographers will work around your schedule to ensure that photos are taken at a convenient time for you and your business. Photo shoots do not require any sort of special equipment, lighting or setup, so you are free to stay open. Although photo shoots are non-disruptive and should not interfere with your normal business operations, it’s a good idea to let your customers know that photography is in process and to avoid being in view of the camera whenever possible.
Will people be included in the photo shoot?
Because we want to keep the focus of the photos on the inside of your business, we aim to have as few people in the shots as possible. During the shoot, photographers may put up a sign and alert customers and employees who are about to be photographed. As the business owner, it would be your responsibility to notify your employees and customers that the photo shoot is taking place.
Privacy and Legal
What measures are in place to ensure privacy and legal compliance?
Photo shoots will exclude any areas of your business that you do not want to be featured. In addition, our photographers will always alert customers and employees before a photo is taken, to respect their privacy. All panoramic imagery will be processed by our state-of-the-art blurring technology to blur out the faces of any employees or customers who appear in the imagery. You may, at any time, request additional blurring or takedown of entire images via our Report a Problem link either at the bottom of the pano image or on your Google+ Local page.
Who from my business can give legal permission for the photo shoot?
You must have the proper authority to allow a Trusted Agency access to the business premises to collect photographs and to subsequently allow Google to use those photographs in its products and services. People with this authority include the owner of the business or a director or manager with the authority to make those commitments on behalf of the business. Please note that, by agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and the Google Terms of Service before your photo shoot, you are confirming that you have the authority to make that commitment.
Will Google be using the imagery in other applications besides Google+ Local pages?
Google may use these images in other products and services in new ways that will make your business information more useful and accessible to users. For example, for many locations, further integration with Google Maps will allow customers to find these images easily from the 360-degree Street View imagery of nearby roads.
Do I own the photographs taken by a Trusted Agency?
Yes, you will own the photos taken by Trusted Agencies once you have paid for this service and the shoot is complete. Bear in mind that, by signing the agreement provided by the Trusted Agency, you are also licensing the use of the photos to Google, who will publish the imagery.
Can I review the photos after they are taken and before they go live on my Google+ Local page?
Because the technology takes individual unstitched and unreviewed images that need considerable processing after they have been uploaded by the photographer to produce the attractive ‘walkthrough’ experience, you will not be able to review the images before they are uploaded to Google.
Can I blur the images or take all panoramas down from my business listing?
Yes, if you see a major issue, you can ask us to blur some areas in the panoramic images. You can also ask us to take down all panoramas. We are currently unable to take down individual panoramas. To request blurring or takedown, click the 'Report a Problem' link for the specific images where you see issues, and provide the requested information. Please note that the blurring/removal process may take several days.
Could my photos be removed for other reasons?
Yes, your photos might be removed if they are found to violate the Google photo policy. Although all business images undergo quality review before being uploaded, some photos may still be reported as inappropriate and later removed. The complete photo policy can be found here.
If I'm not the business owner, can I request the removal of a photo?
Like our policy for Street View imagery, our 'Report a problem' tool enables users to request further blurring of images that feature the user in the 360-degree imagery. Users can also request the removal of images that display inappropriate content, and business owners can ask us to remove 360-degree images taken by Trusted Agencies via the “Report a problem” link or the “Report inappropriate photo” link for feature photos.
Can I embed these images on my business website?
Yes, we encourage you to share the walkthrough experience of your business with your customers. To embed the 360-degree panoramas on your website, simply find the HTML snippet from a good point of view from the panoramic imagery on Google Maps, click the 'Link' button, click 'customise and preview embedded map', and copy and paste the HTML to embed it on your website. If you’re looking for even more customisation of your images, take a look at the Google Maps API.
Can I have a repeat photo shoot?
Yes, you are welcome to contact a Trusted Agency and arrange a repeat shoot as often as you like, but it is up to the individual Trusted Agency to decide the cost. Many businesses that have recently renovated their interiors or have seasonal décor request a reshoot. Remember that you can always upload your own up-to-date photographs via Google+ Local as well.