Google Virtual Tours Coming to Local Businesses

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Tallahassee, FL - September 24, 2012 - 5:50 p.m.

You might have driven passed Diva's and Devil's House of Style in midtown Tallahassee.

With hectic schedules and seemingly not enough time in the day, you might not have time to pop into a shop that has peaked your curiosity, just to see if you'll like it.

Now, Diva's and Devil's is one of the first Tallahassee businesses to give a virtual tour through Google maps.

Tallahassee photographer Steven Saccio took dozens of pictures from numerous angles inside.

Once they were edited together, they were linked to Google's street view.

Now you're free to roam from home.

Michelle Torregrosa has owned Diva's and Devil's for 17 years and loves the exposure of being linked to a search engine powerhouse like Google.

"I feel like the inside of this place is so different and unique from anything that's out there so to me that's the best advertising," said Torregrosa. "A billboard can't show you what's inside."

Tallahassee is the 4th city in Florida and 70th in the country with the feature.

Tony Miller and Saccio are business partners who are contracted with Google, to get the images to the site.

Google doesn't charge businesses for the feature.

The owner pays the photographer, who uploads the pictures to Google.
Once other Google staff members integrate those images with the current street view mapping software, the tour lives on the site for free.

For potential customers it's a shopping tool and more in-depth guide to a city.

Owners see it as a marketing goldmine.

Millennium Nail and Day Spa was also one of the first Tallahassee shops to be featured.

It's tucked away along Kerry Forest Parkway and possibly out of the way for someone just wanting to sneak a peek for their next pedicure.

That's why the owner, Tammy Nguyen, said she was more than willing to pay the price to be a part of something innovative.

"A lot of times they're [customers] looking for cleanliness or they're looking for an experience," said Nguyen. "I feel like if they choose us it's because we can provide that for them. And you know, a picture means a thousand words."

Across the parkway, Red Elephant is also just a click away.

"For new customers who haven't seen the restaurant but maybe have heard the name, it's a chance for them to get a little more information and let them see if they want to give us a shot for the first time," said Bradford Lewis, a member of Red Elephant management.

Right now Saccio is the only photographer Google has certified to shoot the images in Tallahassee.

So far, he has photographed 12 businesses in the last few months.

Hotel Duval will be the next Tallahassee establishment with a virtual tour.

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