Is everyscape just another future Google Maps feature or a new local search product built multi-level marketing?
MediaPost covered Everyscape’s recent $6 million fund raising news last month, but I was more interested to find out how their service differs from Google Maps StreetView, since Everyscape also uses Google Maps. My initial review of the site seems to be how Google Streetview will likely progress in its next release giving business more power over their listings but also gives the ability for premium listings for those who want more attention. So has EveryScape really built a new platform that has potential to grow or joined the list of companies that help show Google engineers what they should be doing for their next product?
So the typically businesses that Everyscape advise are best for their virtual tour solution because of their more detailed view and tours are:
- Retail Stores
The Everyscape examples seem niche enough for the product to attract interest as they typically seem to target and they do have the ability through an API to use the content within your own site, but how does it compare against Google Maps Streetview? The smart part about their product is how aggressively they market to business owners if they have not claimed or setup a EveryScape listing for this business as this Starbucks examples shows below, which may allow them to build business listings quicker.
The three screenshots below show how a listing works, the viewer can see a place marker on the Streetview mode where they can quickly and easily view the business details but then are offered the opportunity to peer inside the venue. The first view is of the front door or venue entrance which can be useful if you are trying to recall if this is the place you were thinking of or need a image to recall when you are trying to find it. The ability to peer inside a venue can be useful when looking for a particular mood or theme for a meal or event and often this information is not always available even on larger travel sites.
The images used are often much higher quality than Google Maps Streetview and also likely much more up to date as the business has control over when they are taken and can ensure their property is presented accurately and not obscured by parked vans or construction vehicles as Streetview has captured in the past. I think the service is very suited to niche markets and if more travel and business websites start using their information through their API it has the potential to be a great product but likely needs a lot more support from existing local business websites such as TrueLocal, Aussieweb or Yelp.
In what seems to be more like a pyramid scheme where you can become a ambassador or a reseller where you are responsible for a specific territory but are required to attend Everyscape training and certification program. The two types of ambassadors are destination and local business one captures all the public content similar to the Google Streetview cars and the other seeks to capture the interior images. They offer the ability for you to control geographic regions where you are responsible for selling the listing solution to local business and sell the product in as an new revenue stream. The biggest problem I can see is the cost to keep the destination ambassadors on the road as the Google Maps vehicles costs millions to maintain each year so if you have to use your own car and laptop will you recover your expenses?
The issue that EveryScape face is the chicken and the egg problem, which comes first the business wanted to be listed or people using the service wanting to find that business? The problem is building up the coverage and business listings quick enough so the product has scale and attracts users to the service. It does appear to be positive so far as Everyscape’s visitor numbers appear to be growing, but its too early to know if this will continue at this rate.