We're still very far away from real-time Google Street View or satellite imagery on Google Maps, but Google is, for the first time, introducing video in parts of its mapping service. Users who are part of the company's Local Guides program can now shoot 10-second videos right from the Google Maps app (or upload 30-second clips from their camera roll).
While the company quietly launched this feature for Local Guides about two weeks ago, Google is now also notifying them about it via email and will likely release it publicly in the near future.
Until now, you could only upload still images to Google Maps. Videos, however, can capture a restaurant's, store's or sight's atmosphere far better. Google is also explicitly allowing users to use their videos for personal reviews (as long as they adhere to its usual review policies that also apply to written reviews). Local businesses will, of course, also be able to use this feature to highlight their own products, too.
To record or upload videos to Google Maps, you'll have to search for and select a place in Google Maps (this is Android-only for now, as far as we can see), scroll down and tap "add a photo," tap the "Camera" icon and then hold the shutter to record (or you can upload a short video, too).
For now, though, the program is only open to Local Guides on Android, but it looks like Google is also testing this with local businesses already. As far as I can see, though, the videos will be visible on all platforms.
While this may look like a minor update at first, it'll make for quite a change on Google Maps, especially for local business owners. Snapping a few pictures is pretty easy, after all, but chances are that many of them will soon want to take professional video of their locations, which is far harder and -- if they hire a videographer -- expensive.