Google is coming to downtown Warsaw tomorrow, July 17. With this, images of area storefronts will be updated for Google Maps and area businesses are encouraged to plan accordingly.
According to Jim Hilker, program designer and coordinator for Google, “Google’s trusted photographers in Indiana are participating in the creation of a new interactive 360 degree virtual area guide program built with the popular Google Maps Street View technology. Using a portable street view camera setup, the photographers bring the imagery onto the sidewalks and inside the businesses in small cities and towns. This summer we are working our way through central and northern Indiana, and we’re scheduled to be in the town of Warsaw on Thursday, July 17.”
Titled “My Town,” this new program creates an interactive virtual walk down the main streets of small towns and cities across the USA. Using the “Street View” imaging cameras, the team captures 360 degree panoramic images on the sidewalks in front of every business on both sides of the blocks. There is no charge for the outside store front imagery, however, businesses may opt to have the inside of their establishments included at the same time, for a nominal fee. Once all the images are captured the team produces it all into a seamless interactive virtual Main Street tour which becomes a part of Google Maps. Then a special copy of that is assembled into the standout web page called “My Town.”
The team launched the “My Town” program in Western New York just 6 weeks ago and already they have done nearly a dozen small cities and towns (an example of which can be viewed at this link) Nearly every town and city in Indiana will be included over the next year and the team will return to each town and city the following year (or sooner in some cases) to update and expand these virtual experiences.
Hilker encourages chambers, downtown associations, city/town/village offices, CVBs and other tourism and economic development advocates to link to and use the “My Town” virtual area guides to help show off their town to the world and subsequently drive more business to their local merchants.
Because of their workload and busy schedules, businesses interested in possibly having the team come inside their establishments with the Street View camera should inquire in advance. Fill out and submit this online form and the project coordinator will call you to discuss the details.”