Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s largest Internet-search company, introduced a feature that builds on its mapping services by letting users see what a business looks like from the inside.
The service will be available next week in the U.S., Japan and other countries, Mountain View, California-based Google said today. The feature, part of Google’s Places service for local businesses, will let owners showcase 360-degree views of their shops’ interiors.
“We go into their business and shoot photos,” Marissa Mayer, vice president of product management, said at a technology conference in San Francisco. Google captures the images only with a business owner’s permission, she said.
Google is adding features that may help it lure small- business advertisers and vie with local-review site Yelp Inc., social-networking leader Facebook Inc. and such daily-deal providers as Groupon Inc. and LivingSocial.com.
Google announced a marketing program last month in Portland, Oregon, that offers discounts from local companies.
Google fell $1.52 to $534.27 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have declined 10 percent this year.
Separately, Mayer said Google is looking at small and large acquisitions in location-based services. She also reiterated that the company isn’t tracking the location of individual users.
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