How to Become a Google Street View Trusted Photographer
A market research conducted in July 2015 on the impact of virtual tours on increasing consumers’ interest in local businesses showed that when searching for businesses, consumers use mapping products 44% of the time. On average, 41% of these searches result in an on-site visit. Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.
In this new realm of democratized photosphere and virtual tour creation, it can be hard to tell a hobbyist from a true professional. In order to help a client make the decision on who to trust with a project, Google have created what they call “Google Street View Trusted Photographer Certification”. It may well be a bit of a mouthful but what it basically means is that Google have seen a number of images that one has taken and has certified that a spherical panoramic photographer can take good quality photospheres with their equipment. The images are level, in focus, stitched well correctly spaced and of an even height (if for a virtual tour).
To get started, you first need to download the Google Street View app.
Image courtesy Google Street View App
Criteria for becoming a Google Trusted Photographer
For a certification to be acquired, there must be at least fifty images uploaded to Google servers via the Street View app, and one must ensure that the images uploaded meet with the following criteria:
- 14 mp or larger (5,300 x 2,650 px)
- 2:1 image aspect ratio
- No gaps in image around horizon
- No significant stitching errors
- Adequate detail in light/dark areas
- Sharpness: no motion blur, in focus
- No distracting effects or filters
If the image set being uploaded is a connected one, then all of the photospheres must maintain a clear line of sight and be spaced about 1 meter apart indoors and at most 3 meters apart outside.
All of the images must be appropriate with anyone in shots consent to show their faces or if a private place the consent of the owner or the owner’s representative.
They must be accurate to the GPS coordinates that you are stating they are representing with no computer generated graphics used to represent the space.
They must have no attribution beyond the nadir (base of the image) with no discriminatory hateful or illegal content and once enrolled within the Google Trusted Street View program, one must agree to abide by Google’s sales and branding guidelines.
For details, refer to the Image Acceptance and Privacy page of Google Street View.
Moderate your 360 photos
You have the following moderating options once your tour photos have been uploaded:
You can also transfer the rights to your 360 photos and therefore grant permanent license to your transferee. You will still be credited for the photos unless the new owner transfers the rights again to someone else.
What you can do after becoming Google Trusted
A trusted photographer has the ability to upload their work directly to various platforms Google has created that display photospheres and virtual tours for public consumption by all the users on that platform and on any screen that can display them. This includes but is not limited to Google Maps, Street View, Google Earth, Google My Business and of course, Google Search. These interactive images may be internal or external shots depending on the client and if a business that operates from inside a building via the business ‘see inside’ button on Google Street View.
Once becoming a trusted photographer, one has a competitive advantage against other panoramic photographers in the area. When your work is utilized, your clients’ SEO ranking might also receive a boost upwards in local searches; your tours are hosted by Google free of charge, and thereby becoming reliable and hassle-free; your placement upon Googles ‘Photographers for Hire’ directory of trusted street view photographers will also raise your profile and ability to get work. This directory includes a link to your website and listing of a contact phone number.
Image courtesy Google Street View Trusted Photographer
Things you are able to do once you are accredited as a Google Maps Street View Trusted Photographer include:
1. Use the Trusted badge and branding elements, offer professional photo spheres as one of your business services;
2. Show the Trusted badge (against a white background with enough padding, no matter where you display it); Use the Trusted badge and branding elements in a website, presentation, business apparel, and printed sales materials; You must make sure, however, that the badge and branding elements aren’t the most prominent elements on the page/clothing where they are being used.
What you must NOT do as a Google Trusted Photographer
1. Misrepresenting or hiding that you’re part of the Trusted program when you’re interacting with businesses online;
2. Altering in any way the logos or word marks from Google, Google Maps, Street View, or the Trusted badge. No addition of any graphics whatsoever to them, stretching the images, or translating them into a foreign language whilst keeping the recognizable branding;
3. Using the badge in a misleading or abusive way. You can’t give the impression that Google endorses any product one may create. The certification is merely an accreditation of one’s skill as a spherical panoramic photographer;
4. One must not use Google, Google Maps, Street View, Trusted badge, or any other Google trademark or anything similar in a domain name URL. You’re also not supposed to use the branding elements in any way other than those specified in the guidelines.
This video by Willem Van Zyl gives a full Snapseed and Google Street View workflow from taking photos, editing to uploading your final work.
This one by Plus Your Business shows you step by step on how to import and edit your Street View photos.
Hope this tutorial has help you! Let us know if we missed anything, or what other tutorials you’d like to see in the future in the comments below.
After having created amazing panoramas, you’re probably wondering what are some solutions for viewing 360 images on desktop and mobile, check the top 13 panorama photo viewers; and also check the software to create a virtual tour.
Just a correction, the tours provide no noticable SEO benefit or boost in rankings.
Thanks Kyle, we will look into this and make edits!
So can I just upload my 50 images and magically google will consider our company as a trusted photographer or do I need to signup a form or something to start ?
Harry, we’re unsure if a company as a legal body can be recognized as a Trusted Photographer. If you have an email that you own, and upload 50 high-quality panoramas covering an area that hasn’t been photographed already (so downtown Manhattan is a no-go), you stand a chance of being awarded the recognition. Hope this helps.
What you can do after becoming Google Trusted
@Kyle : I’m unsure if there is proven SEO benefit, however the tour does solidify the credibility of the business, saving your business from potential suspension headaches down the road which often afflict REAL business that accidentally get tangled in Google’s algorithm sweeps. Getting yourself or your clients out from under those suspensions can be a giant nightmare as Google offers zero customer support on the topic or for GMB in general. In summary, a business with a tour is 99% suspension proof.
Hi K Taylor,
Sounds nice, not true at all. I’ve had many clients still have issues with GMB over the years, even after I’ve added their tour, and I’ve resolved it many times using the available phone and email support offered by Google.
The tour is great for credibility in potential clients eyes, but there’s no evidence of any SEO or Penalty Safe benefits at all. Happy to be proven wrong, but my experience speaks otherwise.
Are there any brand requirements in terms of hardware for taking photos or will any hardware that can meet the required specifications for the photos do?
Very Impressive information provided here which is very useful. I have a question
“Does Google pay after becoming a trusted one?”
I would like to also see how you can tell your progress or where you check to see if the badge has been awarded? I can’t seem to find either in my app.
Hmm, I found your blog/site and found it to be much better/informative than trying to delve the mysteries of Google! However there are a few issues with Streetmaps and I would have thought they would have nailed this by now with a decent algorithm. When uploading a tour the previews for direction don’t always appear, this is happening 90% of the time at the moment. When re-positioning a single image there is no guidance to where other images have been added, so effectively you could land on a spot of your own or someone else’s which means the image will not be approved. With these issues the product is hard work as we have 50+ images that have not been approved. A good example, Rugby stadium with images around the seating area have already been captured. When we try to add our images view on the field – not approved! Do you have an email address we could push this information to? Cheers!