Google Maps Adding Business Interiors to Street View Photos

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Forget Street View. Now when I’m bored I can pretend I’m working in the Conde Nast cafeteria. Or at the Googleplex.

Last May, Google announced that they would start taking interior views of stores. But why? It turns out that some of these images are now making their way online as part of a new feature showcased on Google Maps.  Street View is finally going indoors (but not before I clean my apartment).

(MORE: Ask Techland: How Can I Use Google Maps to Find My Next Apartment?)

Don’t worry, privacy buffs. There are a couple steps before Google can get photo-happy. To even begin the process, store owners first have to submit an application to Google. The company will then pick which stores get featured, and then a Google-certified photographer will drop by. So much for showing off that swanky new couch in the lounge right away.

Photos taken for the feature are owned by Google, so even if you object to an unflattering photo, they still have the right to keep one up (you were the one that submitted the application, weren’t you?).

(MORE: Google Maps: An Invasion of Privacy?)

According to VentureBeat, thousands of businesses have already worked with Google to get these shots put together, though some people have raised concerns that burglars could use the feature to glean information about a business before robbing it, a la Ocean’s Eleven. And as much as I’m up for another Clooney and Co. cinematic extravaganza, that’s just not cool.

Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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