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I have to think Google would like to downgrade pure drop shippers and boost long time sellers who have permanent physical presences... stores, warehouses, factories.
Is there any possibility that it was a competitor in disguise that was trying to do some industrial espionage? Did they show up unannounced?
They asked questions about brands sold, services provided, hours etc. Nothing invasive. There was no charge.
I was curious as to why G would provide this service. After all, it's very simple and straightforward for folks to upload pics to their Places pages themselves.
Just as you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't always judge a business by its exterior appearance. Yesterday we introduced Google Places and mentioned that we’re now starting a pilot project in select cities worldwide to take photographs of business interiors.
When customers are searching for the right local business, the setting, facilities, ambiance, merchandise, layout, or decor can be important factors in choosing where to go. If you want to find the perfect romantic restaurant for your anniversary dinner, you’ll want to find a place that has the right atmosphere. Or if you need to find a new gym, you’ll probably want to see what sort of equipment and amenities they offer. Place Pages currently feature images from business owners and third-party sources, but we wanted to supplement those with additional photos taken by Google photographers to provide consumers with more ways to get a sense of what awaits them when they step through the door of a business.
The photographs are shot by Google photographers who work directly with the business owner to arrange a time to do the photo shoot. Along with taking pictures of layout, facilities, and merchandise, we’ll also photograph displays on the storefront, like hours, rating decals, accessibility information, credit cards accepted, and posted menus -- and all of this will be done at no cost to the business owner. These photos will also appear alongside the others on a business’ Place Page, and can help customers (and potential customers) get a better sense of what a business has to offer and what sets it apart from others. Here are some samples from our early tests: