There have been wide-spread reports of missing panoramas on the virtual tours for businesses found on Google Maps. This has put a lot of virtual tour photographers in the hot seat and has left a lot of business owners understandably upset.
Most virtual tours found on Google maps are of businesses who paid a virtual tour photographer to put the tour together. When a contract is made between a business owner and a photographer, the contract usually includes the photography of their most important rooms. But when there are missing rooms in the final product, business owners are left feeling like they didn’t get their money’s worth. Meanwhile the photographers are scrambling trying to find out why this is happening because the photographer most likely not only shot the room, but included it into the tour.
Google is Almost Always the Culprit
Sure, if you’re dealing with an inexperienced/freelance photographer, there’s a greater chance of mistakes that were made. The difference here however, is that when the photographer messes up, they would most likely have to re-take the tour, to the detriment of the business owner’s time and money.
But this one’s different. This falls squarely on the shoulders of Google, and it’s important for business owners to understand a bit on how Google works and how prone they are to making such blunders.
Google is Constantly Experimenting
Whether it’s Google Maps or Google+, Google is always experimenting. A lot of their products and ideas are hit and miss. (Click here to see an article about all of Google’s product failures.) Google Maps is no exception. A lot of features that were added to Google maps only a few years ago have since gone extinct. Take for instance our Google virtual tours itself: There was once a glorious time when you would have a big ol’ ‘Come Inside” feature on your Google Maps profile where viewers were encouraged to check out the business’ virtual tour. But sometimes when Google makes a change to their algorithm, you get bugs.
Google’s First Response to the Issue
After enough Google Verified Street View photographers started complaining, we finally received an answer. Here’s what they said:
(Date: 11/29/2019)Issue update: 360 photos inaccurately being rejected
We’d like to thank you for your patience while our engineers investigated this issue and let you know that it’s well on the way to being resolved.
Last week our team identified the root cause and initiated a reprocessing job for all images published on Street View which will likely be completed in the following few days.
Please note that no action is required on your part at the moment.
The Google Maps Street View trusted team
More Updates From Google
Since that last update that photographers were given, we have heard of more info coming in from other sources. Panoskin (a virtual tour software company) made the following announcement, as pointed out by a photographer:
(12/03/2019) We are aware that tours are still experiencing issues with connections. We have heard from Google that connections should begin appearing following the Thanksgiving holiday and we can confirm that connections are slowly coming back.
What appears to have caused this is a new algorithm that Google has implemented which detects and removes bad images, but that system is removing/blocking images that should not be affected. As a result, this is affecting connections.
What Happens Now
If you are a business owner and are missing certain areas of your business from your virtual tour, the only thing you could do is be a little patient. It appears as if Google is aware of the situation and is slowly working to fix the issues one virtual tour at a time.