Alphabet Inc.’s Google unveiled new features for its most popular mapping app – Google Maps. At the Google I/O conference, the search giant announced that Google Maps will now be more dominant and personal in terms of search.

Nowadays, smartphones are exploding in popularity, thus Google has started focusing more on its mobile oriented apps like Google Maps. Their aim is to provide more social friendly experiences to their users by making it easier to search for nearby places and share reviews and opinions on local businesses.
Here are some interesting new features to look out for:

Sharing ETA with your connections

Thanks to the development of Google Assistant, you can now easily text your connections like friends and relatives about your expected time of arrival. The app will calculate your ETA based on how much time it usually takes a person to reach a particular place.

Google Lens coming to Maps

At the latest I/O conference, the internet giant also introduced a new feature called Visual Positioning System, through which people can find their own locations on Google Maps using their cameras. It combines street view and data from Maps and uses a smartphone’s camera for easier and better navigation.

Group Planning

This new feature will allow users to interact and coordinate with friends and family without leaving the app. Under this new feature, you will be able to long press on any place and add it to a list of shortlisted places. You can then share this list with your friends and family to select and vote. Further, Google Maps can be used to book a reservation on that place and also find a ride to that location.

For You Tab

This feature will allow users to know about the latest and trending events in their nearby locations. For example, you can know about the most popular restaurant that has opened up in the neighborhood in the ‘For You’ tab. The ‘For You’ tab will have all the news about trending locations or updates from your favorite business establishments.

In addition, Google Maps is becoming more of a mobile experience as the number of smartphone users is increasing day by day and is forecasted to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019. It’s all about the smartphone penetration in the market. Just over 36 per cent of the world’s population is projected to be using a smartphone by the end 2018. Businesses need to capitalize on this smartphone penetration at the right time to capture the market. Those who capitalize on these opportunities will enjoy a social interaction boost, especially when users share their responses with friends, family and relatives through the Google Maps platform.

Since Google owns the majority share of local and organic search traffic, it is very important to ensure that your website is listed and ranked well when users try to search for and discover your business.

To get on board on Google Maps, businesses should:

Manage reviews like an asset: Reviews play an important role in Google organic search results as they are essential to any business’ survival. Google gives priority to those businesses that have better reviews and well optimized GMB (Google My Business) listing.

Advertise: Google Maps can be considered as a local online advertising platform. Google makes it possible to share offers through its more personalized features thus making it an even more attractive tool for advertising.

Get your data and content right: Be sure that your location and business data is always accurate, up-to-date and your content is compelling. If you want to be included in anyone’s consideration set, your content needs to use powerful writing and strong visuals. Through Google Maps you can get access to insights that can give you an inside look at how people search and find your business listing on Google.
We know with certainty that Google Maps is going to continue to change, as it always has. If your business is not devoting attention to Google Maps as a resource to create customers, it’s time to get started.

In a nutshell, Google Maps is another way to look at your customers’ preferences. The insights can be used to learn more about your customers’ search behavior and you can see how they are interacting with your business listing.

 

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