Street View | Trusted

An Overview of Google’s New Program for Publishing Photospheres

You may want to bookmark this page as a resource for up to date information about the Street View | Trusted program.

As of 3 September 2015 the Google Business View program has been officially closed.

The new Street View | Trusted program takes its place for photographers publishing photosphere imagery on Google products.

Whereas the Google Business View program was based on a contractual agreement between Google and Trusted Independent Photographers the Street View | Trusted program provides access to a special publishing tool, the Pano Editor; access to a support forum monitored by Google staff; and access to Google branded badging for qualifying photographers.

There has also been mention of some lead generation benefits for photographers.



Official Documents

Below are the official documents relating to the Street View | Trusted program.

Join the Trusted Program

The Street View App

Use the Street View Editor

Use the Street View Gallery

Street View Trusted - Hire




Further Blog Posts 

Getting Started in SVT - The Kit

Creating Professional Quality Photospheres

Pre-Purchase Analysis of the Iris360

Contract for Photographic Services

Street View for Hotels

Postcard for Certified SVT Photographers


SVT Certified Photographers Forum

I've set up a forum for certified SVT photographers to share info and enjoy having a community to learn from.

SVT Certified Photographers Forum Access Request



Access for All


One of the most important changes in the transition from Google Business View and Street View | Trusted is the update of the Street View App that works with Android and iOS smartphones.

The Street View App allows anyone with a smartphone to create photospheres and publish them to Google maps.

Publish to Street View



The New Cameras

The Street View App also connects with some new cameras that have been specially developed to create photospheres that can be published to Google products through the Street View App.

Iris 360

Theta S

The Iris360 creates 32 Mp photospheres that would meet the requirements for the minimum number of published photospheres for access to the Street View | Trusted program but the Theta S does not.



Using a DSLR


Additionally a photosphere created with a DSLR camera and stitched together with third party software can be published to a Google business listing using the below app and selecting ‘Add a Photo’ on the business or place’s Google+ page or Maps listing.

Photosphere Appspot


When using a DLSR you can process the images with Lightroom, stitch them together using PTGui or other specialist panorama stitching software, and retouch them to correct any artifacts of the stitching process and/or address privacy issues by cloning or blurring.

Google is encouraging the use of Drive instead of Picasa, they're both about equally bad as far I'm concerned - try figuring out how many files are in a Drive Album, it can be done but you have to be creative.



The Benefits of Being a Street View | Trusted Photographer

Only photographers who have been accepted to the Street View | Trusted program have access to the Street View Editor which can be used to create linked tours. (it would appear that access to the Editor is now being given before full cert', updates to follow)

These linked tours have the same user interface as Street View and the tours will be linked to Street View where possible.

The Street View Editor also has an option specifically for hotels known as the ‘Hotel Mode’ which is accessed by selecting ‘Hotel Mode’ in the Street View Editor’s ‘View Selection’ window.

Photosphere imagery published through the Street View Editor will be shown on Google Search, Google Knowledge Cards, Google Maps and Google+ pages in a special ‘See Inside’ linked image window.

Photosphere imagery published through the Street View App will not be displayed this way.

Photosphere imagery can be published using the Street View Editor either by pre-stitching the photospheres with third party software or by uploading image files from an approved list of DSLRs, lenses, and rotators.

Those image files will then be stitched by Google into photospheres for publication through the Pano Editor.



Becoming a Street View | Trusted Photographer


Photographers who were certified Google Trusted Photographers on 3 September 2015 were automatically enrolled in the Street View | Trusted program.

Those photographers must upload at at least 5 photospheres of at least 32Mp resolution to at least 10 businesses within 150 days to retain enrollment privileges. Those photospheres must meet additional requirements found in the official documents and remain published on Google Maps to qualify for certification.

Photographers who wish enter the program from 3 September 2015 must publish the same number of photospheres by the same requirements within a 150 day period.


Terms and Conditions

Google is not a party to any contractual agreements with the photographer or the businesses photographed except for as stipulated by Google’s Terms of Service for all contributions to Google products.

Google Terms of Service

The photographer is responsible for gathering and archiving the appropriate permissions and releases for people and property visible in the imagery.

As per Google’s Terms of Service the copyright belongs to the creator of the imagery unless the creator transfers the copyright to their client.

Additionally any imagery uploaded to Google’s products are subject to the clause in the Terms of Service that grants worldwide limited usage rights to Google to display the imagery across it’s range of products.





Photographers who have been part of the Google Business View program have uninterrupted (service hiccups aside) access to the Street View Editor for uploading photosphere tours to Street View and may continue to offer the same service that they were offering in the Google Business View program but with fewer restrictions and CRM requirements.

The minimum shoot requirement has changed from one shoot per calendar month to 10 shoots in 150 days, which represents a doubling, but with the relaxed restrictions, should not prove too onerous.

The addition of the new cameras, especially the Iris 360, adds a new way of quickly creating Street View imagery that should help increase the rate of coverage.

Over the last three years the awareness of Street View imagery inside businesses had grown exponentially.

Some customers have discovered that not all Street View imagery is created equally.

Experienced photographers are able to use their specialist knowledge of photographic processes to create a higher standard of photosphere by ignoring Google's guidelines recommending automatic settings and using third party software to process the photographs.

The new Street View | Trusted program provides experienced photographers with the necessary tools to create professional quality virtual tours using the Street View Editor while also allowing all Google product users to contribute their own photospheres to Google products using their smartphone or affordable specialist camera.

Professional photographers creating and uploading photospheres for business clients should prepare and employ a clearly written contract of service stipulating the photographer's terms and conditions.

Those terms and conditions should include the transfer of worldwide unlimited usage rights to the client for a fee and include a clause that declares that no usage rights have been granted until all fees are paid in full.

It should not be necessary for the photographer to transfer copyright to the client as worldwide unlimited usage rights cover the client's need for publication and the photographer should retain the right to use the images in their own portfolio for promoting their business.

Photographers should also be aware of the laws pertaining to privacy and property rights in the country or countries they intend to conduct business in.


In conclusion

The changeover from Google Business View to Street View | Trusted has not been well explained by overly brief resource materials but with the exception of a short hiccup in service there has been no interruption or denial of service.

Photographers who may have had ongoing contracts in place before the change of programs can continue to offer the same service, in the same way.

Photographers who may be interested in joining the program now have more options of equipment to choose from.

And photographers who might wish to publish photospheres but are not interested in joining the Street View | Trusted program also have more options available to them.


Additional resources

Recently published info from the Street View | Trusted team

Dear Photographers,

Please check out some of the new terminology you’ll be seeing throughout this program:

Photo sphere: Imagery stitched into a 360 degree panorama

Street View editor: This is a desktop tool that can be used to:
import photo spheres,
import individual images to create photo spheres,
connect photo spheres into constellations,
blur faces and other sensitive details in your imagery, and
publish photo spheres to Google Maps listings.
Please find more information on the Street View editor here.

Imagery creator: Either the photographer or agency

Client shoot: A photo shoot sold to a customer

Import imagery: To import imagery folders from either Google Drive or Google Photos to the Street View editor. Please find more information on importing imagery here.

Modify imagery: To modify imported imagery in the Street View editor. Please find more information on modifying imagery here.

Moderation: This refers to Google’s quality control review process

Hope this helps!

The Street View | Trusted Team


Helpful Links

Embedding a Virtual Tour



I'm not a Google employee and my answers are not to be considered official Google policy but just the opinion of a veteran Google Trusted Photographer. I am careful, however, in researching my answers and to the best of my ability I will confine my answers to things that I feel I know for certain, at the time of writing at least.


Do we need to shoot POIs for the SVT program?

No, POI (point of interest 'flat', 'still', or 'standard') photos are not required in SVT. The ability to upload POIs through the Street View Editor remains in place but the requirement has been dropped in the new program.


Do reshoots count towards certification?

MC Answer copied and pasted - 'A re-shoot of a business you have shot previously will not be counted towards your certification unless there has been significant time passed between shoots or an increase in photosphere count.'

Not very helpful or clear but I would say you should look to shoot at least 10 different businesses in the 150 day cycle.


If/when we lose trusted status (presumably we'll all want to retire at some point!), will our clients lose their See Inside?

Google makes no guarantees that its products won't change in the future and you should be careful to make that clear to your clients, but no, if you are no longer certified that will not automatically result in the tours / single photospheres coming down.


Should I level the camera on a sloped ground?

Yes, keep the camera level but adjust the tripod so the legs remain in the nodal hole.

The tripod should also be level at the plate for attaching the ball head or leveler as this will make the tripod more stable.



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