September 6, 2012

Do you like this?

If you own a local retail business, you might expect a knock on your door soon from photographer Bleu Hayes. Solicitors can be annoying, but hear him out.

Hayes is now the only Google-certified photographer in Chattanooga trusted to capture your business for placement on the search engine’s business photos service, allowing users to take a virtual panoramic tour of a business linked to Street View and other popular Google search offerings.

Google Business Photos, which has been available in larger cities for more than two years, has just recently rolled out in Chattanooga, Hayes said, and after undergoing a lengthy certification process, the photographer has been capturing local businesses for inclusion online.

“I keep up with technology and when I heard about the program being launched in select cities, I applied for certification,” Hayes said, who notes he is one of only 200 Google-trusted photographers in the country. “When I got a call from a recruiter who asked me if I want to be a part of the service, I jumped at the chance.”

Hayes said Google is famous for its analytical testing of services it offers, so he wasn’t surprised at the lengthy processs, but he didn’t want to enter a market over-saturated with competition, either.

“Fortunately, Google doesn’t want to saturate markets, either,” Hayes said. “They support small business, but they have very strict quality-control measures.”

So far, Hayes has signed up almost a dozen local businesses, such as the new Fork & Pie Restaurant, for the service, which begins at $200 and includes detailed, panoramic photos surveying the entire premise, “as if you were actually there,” Hayes said.

Google does refer businesses interested in the service to Hayes, but he more often finds himself simply knocking on doors.

“I have to sell it, going door to door,” he said, “but having the Google name behind me, people are really receptive. I like meeting people and networking.”

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September 6, 2012

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