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Google Introduces Service That Shows Inside of Businesses

Google Probe
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is preparing to investigate Google Inc.'s dominance of the Internet search industry, said three people familiar with the matter. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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