EveryScape and Bing Ramp Up 3-D Virtual Tours in Local Search Results
Here’s an interesting snapshot of a small startup working with a tech giant to change how people check out local establishments on the Web—and also how those establishments advertise online.
The startup is Newton, MA-based EveryScape, which creates 3-D panoramic tours of restaurants and other businesses from photos of their interiors. The tech giant is Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which has been ramping up its efforts in local search (among other things). Today, at a Microsoft Search Summit in San Francisco, Bing and EveryScape are announcing that they’ve teamed up to deliver “immersive imagery” for businesses across all of Bing’s local search results.
The partnership is a major extension of the collaboration the companies announced last June, which involved creating 3-D views of Boston-area restaurant interiors on Bing. The new deal makes EveryScape’s virtual tours available in Bing’s local search results for all establishments that EveryScape has catalogued—which amounts to “thousands” of businesses worldwide, the company says.
What this means is if you search for a nearby restaurant on Bing, say, and if EveryScape has stitched together the necessary imagery, you can click on the “step inside” button (see lower part of screenshot below) and get a virtual tour of the inside of the restaurant. Presumably this gives you a better feel for the ambience, and can help you decide whether you want to go there for a business meeting, private dinner, lunch date, or what have you.
Financial terms of the Bing partnership were not disclosed; EveryScape declined to comment on whether it will receive technology licensing fees and/or a cut of advertising revenues.
From a strategy perspective, EveryScape is now pursuing an interesting mix of big distribution partnerships (Bing for example) and consumer-focused software—its iPhone app, released last summer, provides visual restaurant guides for several U.S. cities. But the company seems to have shifted more of its sales focus to local advertisers. “The deal with Bing is an important step in our strategy to bring immersive advertising and search into the mainstream,” says Jim Schoonmaker, EveryScape’s CEO, in an e-mail. “Bing is a fantastic anchor tenant that provides an important source of local search traffic.”
EveryScape was founded in 2002 by chief technology officer Mok Oh. In 2008, the company raised $7 million in Series B financing from Dace Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Draper Fisher New England, Draper Atlantic, and Launchpad Venture Group.