When you look up B&H on Google Maps (B&H Photo Video Super Store, 9th Avenue, New York, NY), you can click through a virtual tour of the space, zooming in and shuffling around the same way you would on any street view map. While the store is mostly empty, you can still see a couple straggling customers who wandered in as opening hours approached.
“We thought it would be cool for people who can’t come to New York to be able to take a virtual tour,” says Bryan Formhals, B&H’s social media manager. “We wanted to create a bridge between what we do online and what we do in New York.”
Formhals had heard Google was considering the project, so B&H contacted them and offered to open their doors. The Google folks stopped by at 7 a.m. – two hours before opening – and scanned in the first floor of the superstore, using GPS devices to ensure the location services were accurate.
According to Formhals, Google told them they didn’t have the technology in place to offer street view on upper floors, they scanned the second floor of B&H anyway. Hopefully that means the little orange man in Google Maps will soon be able to climb stairs, too.