So you have decided to look into a 360 Virtual Tour for your business.  That’s great news. We know you’ll come to enjoy it for years to come.  Before buying your virtual tour however, there are some things you should know.  The focus here is to give you realistic expectations so that you are not disappointed with any aspect of your tour.

Google Has Changed the Rules

Not only for us Google Trusted Photographers, but for web surfers and general audience as well.  What used to be a huge bragging point or benefit to getting a virtual tour- well, it still is… It’s just that it’s not such a selling point to us photographers any longer.

See Inside feature which is no longer available

See Inside feature which is no longer available

Your knowledge graph (You know, that area on the right of your Google search result that contains your business info, hours of operation, pictures etc…) has changed. Where as before, our virtual tour would have a piece of real estate with the words boldly written “See Inside,” well it’s just not there anymore.  This was a great feature because your tour was very prominent and you know right away that you had taken the time and investment into having a virtual tour shot for your business.

See Inside Feature- Where Did it Go?

Google has taken that section out from your search result business knowledge graph and have moved your virtual tour in the same section where your business photos now are.  So it’s no longer prominent or the very first thing you see, like it used to be.  Your tour is now mixed in with your other pictures. In some cases, we have even noticed that you now have various 360 photos along with your virtual tour.

360° photos are virtual tour photos from one position where you can spin around in 360, but you cannot move along to the next point of the tour.

This is important information for business owners who were really looking forward to having that virtual tour show up in their search results.  Our response to that is that it still is.  It’s just now in the same section as your photos.

Why Did Google Move My Virtual Tour?

Welcome to the world of Google- an ever-changing ecosystem of layouts and rules in a quest to perfect their craft. It’s all about trial and error with Google.  They are forever experimenting and are unlikely to ever change that characteristic. The good thing is that there’s always a chance that they will bring it back to the front, you just never know.

Trusted Photographers Used to be Exclusive

A long time ago, there was a time when you actually had to earn your stripes. Anyone who had a passion to become a Google Trusted Photographer had to become certified by going through a series of stringent tests.  That is not the case anymore which is really a real tragedy for you, the consumer.  Google has opened it’s doors to the program by not just letting anyone apply, but they have also released a series of (cheap) 360° cameras to help any amateur to do the same job.  The only problem is that it DOESN’T do the same job.  Their cameras are not built for high quality HD panoramic photos and it shows. At 360° Virtual Business Tours®, we will never settle for poor quality tours.

So the next time you are in search of a virtual tour for your small business, make sure to ask what type of equipment the photographer will be using.  If it is anything else other than a “DSLR” camera, then be very careful before you buy, because you will have a low quality virtual tour.

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