Category Archives: News

Google Street View comes into Malaysian Businesses

GoogleBusinessView

(Interview with The Star InTech above)

See story on The Star website: http://www.thestar.com.my/Tech/Tech-News/2014/03/22/Google-Business-View/

See story on The Star Online

Google Business View now available in Malaysia

The decade-old Google Street View technology has expanded from capturing outside street views to inside ones, and the new technology is now available in Malaysia.

One of Google’s Trusted Agencies – 360 Dynamics, have been capturing businesses in Malaysia since January 2014. The street view process takes roughly 30 to 60 minutes on site. The resulting “Google Virtual Tour” becomes a permanent part of Google Maps Street View, and participating businesses can also use the tour on their own website and social media channels.

Restaurants, boutiques, galleries, professional offices, eye care centers, automotive showrooms, kitchen and bath showrooms, hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, hospitals, as well as colleges and universities are all welcome to participate, officials said.

Businesses that are interested can visit www.360dynamics.my to sign up. There is a one-time publishing fee to participate in the program, depending upon the extent of the photo shoot and the size of the business.

Several local businesses that have already signed up and adopted Google’s virtual tour are Sole What?, Tony Roma’s, San Francisco Coffee, and many more.

Cork Airport uses Google technology to give travellers a virtual tour

Source: The Moodie ReportSee Inside

IRELAND. Cork Airport has become the first airport in Ireland to make the Indoor Street View feature on Google Maps available for all public areas.

The service allows passengers to take a virtual tour of the Cork Airport terminal building using over 840 stitched images. Passengers can explore check-in areas, Departure and Arrivals halls, shops and restaurants.

The function can be accessed from desktop browsers, smartphones and tablets by logging on to the Google Maps website, the Google Maps app, or the Cork Airport website.

Cork Airport Managing Director Niall MacCarthy said: “As part of Cork Airport’s ongoing commitment to providing world-class customer service we are continually striving to innovate and improve the passenger experience.

“These latest developments will make it easier than ever for passengers travelling to and from Cork Airport as they offer a reliable guide for all airport users whether frequent travellers or a first-time visitor to Cork Airport.”

In another major digital initiative, the airport has also launched a free iPhone and Android App, providing users with a guide to the full range of services available.

Developed by Cork Airport with Irish web design company FeedHenry, the app features live arrivals and departures information, car park booking, integrated maps and details of all of the retail and catering outlets within the terminal – including links to shopping services and the latest offers from The Loop (ARI Ireland’s retail brand).

These latest digital initiatives follow on from a €3 million redevelopment project by Cork Airport to improve the passenger experience.

Completed last month, the redevelopments included upgrading the baggage security screening system, introducing new screening technology for liquids and gels and upgrading the customer information desk.

Click here to see the virtual tour on Google Maps.

TOP GEAR racing track now available on Google Maps!

Ever wanted to race The Stig? How about doing it on the Top Gear track from the comfort of your home? Now you can. Just click on the photo and you will be racing UK’s tame racing driver on the infamous Top Gear track that you have been watching on TV all this while!

Go to the Top Gear racing track

See behind the scenes as The Stig takes on Google’s Street View car in this video. Kids, don’t try this at home!

Next time you’re watching Top Gear with your friends, you can tell them how much you know about the track!

Get your own Google virtual tour now by contacting us at 360Dynamics.my

UAE Deputy PM launches Grand Mosque Google virtual tour

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Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, inaugurated a 360-degree Google Street View imagery project creating a virtual tour enabling internet users to explore the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The new guide, part of a Google initiative that aims to capture every famous landmark on earth to be viewed online, steps inside the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque and provides close-up views and minute details of the inside and outside.

In his remarks at the launch ceremony of the virtual tour, Shaikh Mansour praised the initiative for enabling internet users to view the structure of the world’s most beautiful mosques which represents a valuable addition to the Islamic and human cultures.

“Google Inc, as a global knowledge company and a major provider of tourism, cultural, intellectual and scientific information, plays an active role in building bridges for human and cultural communication between the world’s different cultures,” Shaikh Mansour said.

“This is also the mission set for Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque which seeks to promote cultural interaction between peoples of the world.”

Shaikh Mansour also noted that the mosque’s virtual tour gives any internet user worldwide the opportunity to taste the aesthetics of Islamic architecture.

In the operation carried out with the cooperation of the management of the mosque, a Google team captured imagery of the mosque using sophisticated equipment.

The virtual tour of Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque can be experienced by visiting this link here.

Mohammad Mourad, Regional Manager for the Mena region at Google, noted that the virtual tour is part of the internet company’s efforts to design a digital mirror of the real world as well as to provide users with a realistic experience of one of the most important landmarks of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque has the capacity for 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.

The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers – 10 metres in diameter, 15 metres high and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Shaikh Zayed, who is buried at the site.

In 2012 alone, the mosque attracted some 4.7 million visitors from across the world and took 13th place in Trip Advisor’s 2013 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Source: GulfNews.com

Creiff Hydro Hotel – Scotland’s biggest Google tour

Creiff Hydro Hotel - Google Walkthrough

Check out this absolutely beautiful indoor swimming pool at the Crieff Hydro Hotel in Scotland. Click the image above to be transported into the water and experience being there.

Source: hotelowner.co.uk

09 January 2014: Crieff Hydro Hotel has once again set a new standard for the Scottish hospitality industry by creating what’s believed to be the largest Google Business Photos virtual tour in Scotland.

Launched in the UK in September 2012, the interactive marketing tool from the global search giant uses Street View technology to allow potential guests finding them via Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, Facebook or its website to ‘walk in’ through the front door and take a tour 24/7. The tour takes guests into reception, through the Winter Gardens, to the restaurant, into the ballroom and the Victorian spa. It even allows guests to swim a length of the pool.

Drew Cunningham, the Dundee-based Google Trusted Photographer serving the Scottish Lowlands, whose Mr Droogle Google franchise created the tour, explains:
“When my marketing manager, Alan Morrison, showed me pictures of the Victorian Spa I thought it was a shame pictures shot from the side didn’t show the murals properly.” He then decided to take the camera and tripod into the pool to shoot the 360⁰ panoramics.

Commenting on the high-tech development, Crieff Hydro’s marketing manager (pre-stay) Sarah Nicolson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for guests to explore Crieff Hydro before their visit. The quality of the tours is exceptional — it almost feels as if you are right here.”

Contact us now to get your own Google Tour.

 

Watch out travel sites – Google is coming!

Source: BizJournals.com

It could be travel websites’ worst nightmare — Google moving into direct competition on their turf. This week the word is that Google is partnering with hotels so that people will be able to take a sneak peek at their hotel on Google.

One of the hotels who announced the partnership is Best Western International. It is going to have all 2,200 of its hotels in North America accessible on Google Business Photos. All of its hotels are going to feature online tours on Google by the end of next year.

Google Business Photos is a program that provides a 360-degree tour of a company’s facility that can be posted online.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which runs Radisson, Radission Blue and Country Inns and Suites, in December started a pilot program that features the service with its establishments in Miami, Washington D.C., and Chicago.

Google’s Business Photos feature has 360 degree tours that utilize the Google Street technology. Many businesses are using the feature, which was launched in 2010, but now more hotels are starting to use it.

Google Business Photos will allow the prospective customer to look at the hotel almost as if they were there. All of the images will be taken by Google-certified photographers. The pictures will be stitched into a 360 degree view with the latest panoramic technology. Travelers will be able to see the images when they do a search on Google Search, Google+,Google Maps and Google Hotel Finder. Also, they will be able to do these tours on PC, smartphone or tablet.

Having good photos to see is a very important part of what people rely on when deciding which hotel to use. While many hotels have used virtual tours in the past on their sites, the consistency of the offerings on Google will likely make the search giant the dominant provider of such services for hotels.

There is no doubt that this new feature is a dagger aimed at the heart of top travel websites, such as Orbitz and Travelocity. What could be even worse for them is that Google will give customers the ability to pay for their hotel with Google Wallet. Google users will have the ability to pay for their hotel on their smart phone with just a few clicks.

After they choose their hotel with Google Hotel Finder, the customers who are on smart phones will be able to click a “Buy with Google” icon, if they have a Google Wallet account.

Google, which has been also working on penalizing websites that use paid link networks, is likely going to see a good deal of increased revenue at the expense of hotel websites.

First Major department store in London to adopt Google Business Photos

Source: Computerworld UK

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John Lewis has revealed that it has become the first major department store chain to adopt Google Street View.

The mapping of the London Oxford Street store is one of three trials the department store is running over the Christmas period to improve customer experience. Google recently added airports and train stations, including Gatwick Airport, Manchester and most of the London mainline stations, to its Street View database.

Simon Russell, director, retail operations development at John Lewis, said: “We intend to keep investing and innovating in our shops so that they remain compelling and hassle-free places for customers, offering multiple reasons to visit them. Partly this will see us use an increasing amount of technology to make shopping easier and offer more ‘in shop help.”

Visitors to the retailer’s seven-floor, flagship store will now be able to virtually walk the aisles and plan their trip using the virtual tour designed by Ideal Insight.

If the Google Map trial is successful, the virtual tour could be rolled out to other branches in the next two years.

See the Google Virtual Walkthrough here.

Entire Best Western Hotel chain in US signs up with Google Business Photos

Source: USA Today

Best Western International today announced the launch of Google Business Photos for all 2,200 of its North American hotels. All hotels will have the virtual tours online by the end of 2014.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, parent company of Radisson, Radisson Blu, and Country Inns & Suites, this month started a pilot program of the service with an initial rollout at its hotels in Chicago, Miami and metro Washington, D.C.

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Google Business Photos are 360-degree tours powered by Google Street technology. Many businesses have used the technology since Google introduced it in 2010, but a growing number of hotel companies are now adopting it.

“It will allow you to virtually experience the hotel in the same way you would if you were there,” says Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western. “We personally believe that this is going to be a game-changer in the industry in redefining how photos will be consumed by the consumer.”

The photos are taken by photographers trained and certified by Google. Their still photographs are stitched into 360-degree views using panoramic camera technology. Travelers can see the photos when they search for the hotel on Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and Google Hotel Finder. They’ll be able to take the interactive tours on their computers, smartphones or tablets. The hotels also can link to the images from their websites.

“Photos are a critical component people rely on when researching hotels and ultimately deciding to book a hotel,” says David Pavelko, Travel Partnerships Director at Google. “To date, photo quality has been inconsistent and there hasn’t been any great innovation in this space.”

According to market research firm PhocusWright, 44% of travelers have looked at professional photos when choosing a hotel. That is up 4 percentage points over last year, says Douglas Quinby, vice president of research for PhocusWright.

Many hotels have incorporated virtual tours on their websites in the past, but hoteliers say the Google photos are more consistent. Consumers also have more control over the experience by clicking on arrows that will take them in various directions.

“Guests are able to get a better feel for a hotel through these virtual tours than by just looking at static images,” says Jackie Astleford, senior director of E-Commerce for Carlson Rezidor. “Since the 360-degree panoramic virtual tours are taken by Google Trusted Photographers, guests know that these tours are created by a trusted, third party.”

Chekitan Dev, marketing professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and author of Hospitality Branding, says other hotel companies will have to think more about visuals to compete with their counterparts.

“Because people react differently to photos than they do to simply text, brands that show photos of their properties will steal market share from those that do not,” he says.