Google offers virtual tour of KOMO studios

Google offers virtual tour of KOMO studios
SEATTLE -- Apple has reportedly filed a patent that shows it plans to compete against Google's Street View navigation by introducing a 3-D version.

And now navigation inside businesses is becoming a big business of its own.

As many as 100,000 businesses are already offering virtual tours online, including KOMO News.

Google Street View allows users to virtually drive down the streets of major cities around the world. Since 2007, Google has been using a camera with 15 lenses that simultaneously snap a 360-degree view from on top atop a car.

More than a year ago, Google created Business Photos, which brings Street View into businesses and gives virtual tours.

It has also generated new business for a growing class of what's called a Google trust photographer, like Juan Pablo Chiquiza.

Independent photographers like Chiquiza have been trained by Google to take 360-degree photos inside any business that wants it done, for a fee each photographer negotiates. Hosting the virtual tour on Google is free.

Chiquiza recently photographed the KOMO studios. Step by step, he methodically walked around the news set, stopping to take pictures north, south, east and west.

He also photographed the weather center, where KOMO's Seth Wayne was kind enough to stand still for five minutes as Chiquiza worked around him.

But when you see the final product, Seth's face is blurred.

"We care a lot about privacy, so we blur faces, blur licenses plates, and really sensitive information," Chiquiza said.

When he's done, all the images are stitched together with what Chiquiza calls "Google magic."

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