I love Google Street View

Google Street View has not really been a big deal to me. It was barely on my radar and my interest briefly spiked when I saw them driving around my neighborhood, but then it waned again shortly after. (Incidentally, they caught us on garbage day so our neighborhood is attractively displayed to the world with our trash in the foreground). Other than that, I didn’t really care. But today, I found two helpful uses for it.

I was meeting a friend for lunch at a sushi place in an area of town I don’t to go very often. I knew the address — so I knew conceptually where the restaurant was — but the street is dotted chaotically with little shops so it can be tough to find exactly the one you’re looking for, even if you know the address. Sure, you find a cross street and then use that as your landmark but with Google Street View it’s so much easier. I Googled the address to Kenko Niwa then zoomed into Street View…

AaronHoos_BusinessWriterandStrategist_GoogleStreetView

Problem solved. I now knew what the restaurant looked like and where it was in relation to other landmarks. What a difference! It was so much easier to find. (And the sushi was amazing, by the way, especially the California Rolls).

Street View has so much potential! I’m sure Google has lots of stuff dreamed up for it but I can just imagine: Some day I’d like to be able to click on the restaurant, see the menu and book a reservation. Maybe they can suggest a nearby parking area (because the meters are always full up and down this street!). Click to Skype-call the restaurant. Link to pre-pay for lunch. Maybe read customer testimonials or see a video walk-through of the restaurant, hosted by the owner. Stuff like that. Lots of opportunities to engage prospects and help them to become “invested” in the business before they actually step foot in the door.

Works for more than just restaurants, too. There’s a bank nearby. I’d like to click on them to see what interest rates they’re loaning money at, who the bank manager is, what their hours are, what their in-house mutual funds are returning, and maybe some stock market insight.

Gosh, I could go on and on.

Oddly, this isn’t the only time I needed to use Google Street View today. Later, I witnessed someone drive into a parked car and then speed away. I caught the license plate of the vehicle but I forgot to write down the street that it was on (duh). I knew approximately where it was (but I wasn’t 100% sure) so before reporting it to the police, I checked Google Street View to double-check some of the businesses nearby, and stood “in” the Street View exactly where I was when the accident occurred. That confirmed the street name and also gave me the directions I needed to accurately give my report.

Street View’s a blast. Hey, I’m going to see who’s living at my old house!

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