Google Street View letting you step inside South Bend businesses

Google is coming to Michiana! Its ‘Street View’ will now let people walk off the streets and into  businesses.

One business that is taking advantage of this relatively new feature is The Beiger Mansion.

Owner Dennis Slade says customers’ ability to ‘See Inside’ before booking has already boosted his business.

 “We have gone through all the growing pains that most businesses go through and you finally create a website, and you think it’s the end-all…and then along comes Google,” said Beiger owner Dennis Slade.

Google-contracted agencies, like Instant 360, are the ones who come in and help to bring this concept to life for local businesses.

 “If you do a Google search for a business, right in the Google search on the right hand side, you’ll see something that says ‘see inside’, and if you click that banner, you’re actually standing inside the business,” said Lou Golato, Instant 360 Fixed Operations Director.

And this virtual 360-degree tour can have big returns for businesses—two times over according to one Google study.

“I didn’t send it to a client here recently who did drop me a note and said isn’t there any way that I could see more of the space, and I said Oh my god, I’m sorry I forgot to attach this tour, and I sent it, and of course they booked,” said Dennis.

Jeff Rea from the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce hopes as more customers ‘see inside’ businesses, they’ll make the trip to south bend or mishawaka to step inside them.

 “This is a chance to whet people’s appetite and get them coming in the door,” said Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to boost the local economy. But, for businesses especially concerned with security, like banks or private schools, it may not be the best option.

 “The problem of course moves into things where traditionally videos are not allowed…we just need to be smart about what do we put out there that we believe might be innocuous or provide additional information for those who have more criminal intent,” said Notre Dame IT Professor Timothy Carone.

But, Professor Timothy Carone says that’s pretty much the case with all social media nowadays. If people have their phones out recording, it can’t do any more harm to have a pre-photographed tour online.

And business owners like Dennis absolutely love it.

 “It does three times the job, you know, because it isn’t just a flat photo. It’s live. It’s very unique in that sense,” said Dennis.

Google photographers will be coming around South Bend July 26th to August 19th. So far, 17 businesses have already signed up for the photos. After this second round, Jeff Rea said people will be able to ‘see inside’ at least 69 South Bend businesses.

Rea said that if any other businesses are interested in signing up, they can contact the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.

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