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Google is innovating again, this time by introducing a new way for businesses of all shapes and sizes to raise their profile and connect with consumers on the web. Called Google Business View, the technology brings a business to life with a high quality, 360 degree, interactive virtual tour that lets consumers experience and explore panoramic views of retail shops, restaurants, clubs, galleries, event spaces, gyms, services, and facilities of all kinds. The virtual tour appears on the businesses’ website, and – here is the kicker – is  visible on Google Search results, Google Maps, and Google+. The images can also be used for various other advertising and marketing purposes.

The prime movers of Google Business View are a small and select cadre of photographers – dubbed Google Trusted Photographers – who are stringently trained to take high-quality photographs of interiors and facilities, and certified to access the Google technology and know-how that turns the pictures into a dramatic panoramic interactive showcase for potential customers. It is their expertise, combined with Google’s power, that can make companies standout.

Recently, I had a chance to speak with a prolific and successful Google Trusted Photographer, Jeffrey Rosenberg, who has brought Google Business View to several businesses on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. His recent photographic shoots have run the gamut from large and extensive venues — such as a renowned golf club and a venerable catering hall — to more contained locations including a dental office, an eyeglass store, and a hair salon.

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For years, the biggest obstacle facing web designers has been the burden imposed by coding. Many don’t know how to do it all or only have a narrow skillset in the field, thus limiting what they could do on the design side and/or being forced to outsource what they couldn’t handle on their own. And even for those who can both design and code, the latter takes up an average of 70% of the website construction process, thus taking away from the creative design process.

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That all changed with the emergence of Webydo, which gives designers freedom of creativity to publish professional websites and has now grown into a creative community of more than 75K designers.

With online design software that eliminates the need for coding, designers can create pixel perfect sites with high functionality while maintaining creative control over the process from start to finish. The intuitive interface allows designers to drag-and-drop all the creative elements onto any area of the screen, plus widgets which can add advanced functionality like ecommerce. And while you can start creating from a blank canvas, Webydo also offers readymade design inspirations which are completely customizable to aid in the process.

Webydo is primarily aimed at professional designers who already have a working knowledge of how to use other software programs like Photoshop and InDesign, but users new to the industry will be able to learn the ropes after watching the tutorials and starting the design process. Built-in features like Full White Label, a client billing feature, and a dashboard that enables easy access to hundreds of clients’ websites are also included to aid in the professional toolkit for designers to work with.

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Perhaps most enticing is the fact that Webydo users comprise, as we noted above, a huge and constantly expanding community of over 75K designers who have a direct say in how the software will continue to grow. This not only provides a great resource for creative brainstorming and inspiration, but also ensures that Webydo remains on the cutting edge of the web design industry.

To learn more about how to join the Webydo community of designers and start building sites now, click here and get in on the action.

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A hunt for advertising, graphic design and marketing communications agencies to locate a state-of-the-art printer in the heart of New York City — why not? Game on with the #PhaserHunt, an interactive social contest sponsored by Xerox.

Hosted during NYCxDESIGN, which showcased and promoted design of all disciplines, the #PhaserHunt drew on social media to spur competition and excitement among the local design community.

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