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Google puts businesses' interiors inside search results

Google Business Photos present 360-degree panoramas, allowing users to scope out businesses without actually visiting.

Google Business Photos in action. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Google is making it even easier to take a virtual visit to business interiors without leaving home.

Launched in September, Google Business Photos presented Google Maps users with 360-degree panoramas of the inside of businesses, a handy tool for scoping out the interior of a business before going there in person. However, the images were often hard to find.

Starting today, the Web giant began posting the photos to its Web search results page, presenting them along with the business results that appear to the right of requested results. As with the maps product, a simple click on the "see inside" image will transport users to the indoor imagery on Google Maps.

Google suggested that the Street View-like presentation would be handy for those who want to check out a restaurant's ambiance before planning a date there or who want to preview the goods for sale at an antique store.

"These interior business photos on Google Maps give you the feeling of being there, and the comfort of knowing what to expect when you arrive," the company said in a blog post announcing the product.

Google pitches the feature as an interactive way for business to attract new customers. But unlike Google Street View, in which camera-equipped cars roam the streets largely unimpeded, the Web giant employs "Google Trusted Photographers" to do photo shoots in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, and the U.K. Business owners in other countries can upload their own images, but they won't present the same Street View experience.