A couple of days ago Google released a new feature on their Maps product that lets users virtually walk through the streets using real photographs. Currently this is available only in NYC, SF, Denver, Las Vegas and Miami, but there are plans to expand it. They call it "Street View", I call it a marketing opportunity.
The Street View lets you move through city streets like you were in a taxi cab. If you, as a marketer, knew that anybody anywhere in the world could virtually come right up to your office or storefront, would you do anything differently? Can people read your signage? Would they take one look and run away or do you create an inviting atmosphere from the street?
Here is an example I pulled up for the apartment building I lived in when I was interning with Mattel Toys in NYC. You can see the level of detail, while not high-resolution, gives you a first impression. You can read the words on the awning and see people within the shot.
Now, imagine if you knew when the cameras were coming by. You could have a welcome committee like Google has at their campus? What about creating games like a scavenger hunt using the maps? If you're running outdoor campaigns, can people see them through this experience?
UPDATE: Here is a quick video tour I put together to show you what it's all about.
Feed readers click here to see the video.
Any company with a valid address will be indexed once the camera goes through your town. How could you create a remarkable experience from the very first search?
NOTE: Microsoft is running a similar map beta for Seattle and SF.