Going where no man - or search engine - has gone before, Everyscape has launched an online mapping feature that allows people to go inside shops and restaurants.
Users can navigate through neighborhoods and tourist sites. A special icon next to a building invites users to enter and have a look around.
"While Google has focused their technology on building a better map, we wanted to do more and replicate the experience of actually being somewhere," Everyscape chief executive Jim Schoonmaker told ABC News.
Everyscape employs independent contractors to operate specialized equipment. "Destination ambassadors" are assigned regions and are paid per mile to map. By getting locals involved, Schoonmaker hopes to "enable the world to build the world."
On top of earning $10 for every street mile, destination ambassadors receive a commission whenever they convince a business to have its interiors photographed.
Joe Ryan, owner of the Press Box Sports Bar in Manhattan, was quickly sold on the idea when he was approached with an offer to lease his locale on the interactive map.
"It's absolutely worth the price of the lease," Ryan said. "We have a very nice private party room upstairs and whenever people call to see if they can have a party there, it was very hard for me to describe it. Now I just tell them to go to the site, and they can take a look around. It's a big help."
Everyscape has secured $7 million in investment from venture capital firms. Some experts say to cut into Google's market, the company would need to extend its mapping capabilities abroad to popular destinations like Sydney and London, where the legality of such technology has been challenged.
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!