Google 'Street View' Now Takes Users Inside Businesses

Google has announced it is adding indoor views of certain businesses to its mapping service.

The Google Maps service already offers a 360-degree view from the street. But the new service is offering a chance to explore the inside of businesses with the same technology, according to reports.

The indoor views started as a pilot program in April and in May the company announced plans for 360-degree Business Photos, which sends professional photographers to businesses to take pictures for their Places Page.

The service is available in a limited number of cities in the U.S., including New York and Los Angeles, according to reports. It is a volunteer-based venture.

But the number of users and businesses participating in the program are expected to grow.

"We're seeing renewed interest in the past few days because as promised, as more of the imagery becomes available, we're getting more of it online," a company spokesman said.

The initial businesses selected to participate are the most regularly searched online, the company said. Businesses included restaurants, hotels, retail shops, gyms, salons, and repair shops.

Big-brand chains, hospitals and lawyers' offices are currently excluded from the project.

The indoor view function does not show anything a customer wouldn’t be able to see by entering the business, according to Google. People are blurred in the photographs that make up the 360-degree view.

"Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence," a company spokesman said.

The program is likely to draw similar security concerns as its predecessor, Street View.

Google opted to not expand its Street View program in Germany, according to a PCMag report.

Google was banned from expanding the program in the Czech Republic and required by Italian officials to provide adequate warning announcing when vehicles capturing pictures for the service would be passing through.