Back in March, Google released a new tool that lets businesses display their locations by embedding Google Maps into their websites. Now, you can take it a step further by showcasing your business's storefront, too.
Google introduced this week a new Google Maps capability that lets businesses embed Street View functionality and 360-degree, panoramic Photo Sphere images right on their websites — and it's all free, requiring minimal tech skills to implement.
Here's how the feature works and why you should use it on your website. [Google for Business: A Small Business Guide]
How to embed Street View on your website
If you're already familiar with Google Maps and know a little bit of HTML, embedding Street View and Photo Sphere on your website is easy. All you have to do is find your location on Google Maps, then copy and paste a small piece of code into your website.
Here are the steps for embedding Street View and Photo Sphere images on your website:
- Go to Google Maps and enter your business location.
- Enter Street View and set it up at an angle that best captures your storefront. (This is very important, as the service will use those exact coordinates as a starting point for your embed.)
- Click on the Settings cog on the bottom right corner.
- Select "Share and embed image," then click on the Embed Image tab.
- Choose a size for your Street View embed — small, medium, large or custom — and Google Maps will automatically generate the necessary code.
- Copy and paste the HTML snippet into your website.
Should you use it?
Embedding Google Maps' Street View and Photo Sphere images on your website has several advantages. For one, if you own a brick-and-mortar establishment, it's critical that customers can easily find your store, especially if it's tucked in a corner or between other, similar-looking businesses.
And while displaying Google Maps on your website helps customers find your physical location without having to look it up themselves, Street View and Photo Sphere can do more. They provide a more interactive way to help customers visualize, become familiar with and remember your store.
This new feature is also released under the Google Maps Embed API and employs the same image viewer technology used in Street View and Photo Sphere when viewed on Google Maps. This means that customers can use your embed just as they would if they had looked you up on Google Maps. They can change angles, navigate your surroundings and get a "feel" for your location — without leaving your website or Googling your business.
Embeds are completely free and have no usage limits.