Christmas shoppers with a habit of leaving things until the very last minute have been thrown a welcome bone by Google. Don’t fancy braving the elements and inevitable scenes of chaos on the High Street? Not a problem – try a spot of festive window shopping from the comfort of home, with a little help from a new Google Maps feature.
As part of the search firm’s ongoing and intensifying efforts to blur the lines between the real world and the web, a new Business View feature quietly made its way out during the course of last night with little to no fanfare. It’s been possible for some time to have a full-scale wander around certain businesses and buildings using Street View extensions, but now for the first time Google has added up-to-the-minute store windows decked out in all their glory for Christmas shoppers.
“So much of the fun of holiday shopping is seeing the lavish, seasonal displays in the windows of shops and department stores as you pass by,” wrote Google after the feature went live.
“Starting today, with Google Maps Business View, you can see decked out displays in New York and London—without braving the cold weather, lugging bags around or fighting for sidewalk space with fellow shoppers. Now grab your virtual reindeer because we’re off to our holiday window tour!”
So far, a handful of iconic retailers in New York and London have seen their handiwork make it to the new Maps feature, including NYC’s flagship Macy’s store and London’s famed Selfridges department store. Fifth Avenue’s Saks can also be marveled upon remotely with the new feature, perhaps taking the crown for the most delightfully OTT window displays of this year’s Holiday season.
And for those well and truly intent on staying firmly planted to the couch rather than setting foot outside, hitting the ‘See Inside’ button where available lets you take virtual retail-therapy to a whole new level with full store browsing.