Google wants more photos for free

GOOGLE is targeting freelancers to take part in its new business photography service - and offering terms that prove they're still not interested in respecting copyright.

Not content with threatening the copyright system, making millions of books available of online without permission of authors or publishers, Google has turned its attentions to photographers with its Business Photos scheme.

Google Places wants small businesses to register and upload panoramic images of their workplaces. It's a natural extension to Google Maps and Street View. And through Business Photos, the world's biggest search engine is using photographers to obtain images for their business listings service for the ground-breaking price of, well, nothing.

In a nutshell, Google asks photographers to shell out around £1500 for specialist 360-degree panoramic gear and editing software, to contact prospective business clients directly, to hand the images produced over to Google for free, and to give away copyright to the business owner. Oh, and any liability issues fall at the photographer's feet too.

It's a business-model only Google would try and pull off. But at the time of writing Google had already signed up 22 UK photographers. The photographer does get to negotiate a fee directly with the client - but that could be done without Google. The photographer gets the "opportunity" - and I use the term uncomfortably - to call themselves a Trusted Photographer.

While registering for Google Places is free, Google aims to rake in cash from local business by persuading them to sign-up for extras. They are using freely-obtained - and quite expensive - photography to drive the venture. A single 360-degree panoramic image should cost between £250 and £500.

Last modified: 06 Jun 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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