Last month, Google Maps established 15 years of service, marking a milestone in the platform’s history. So to celebrate, Google has released additional features for the Google Maps App, available on Android and iOS. These features include:
- Explore – A local search map with additional listings featured, including hotels, upcoming events, as well as a Featured list.
- Commute – A nice feature that includes easy-to-select locations that are saved to a user profile to calculate routes and travel times based on conditions and method of transport.
- Saved – this section allows for the creation of user lists, and other important uses for locations that have been saved as favorites.
- Contribute – This feature lets users to contribute reviews, photos, and maps edits from one easy section.
- Updates – A personalized information feed, including restaurant suggestions based on local articles, as well as a messaging feature for messages sent directly to businesses on the Google Business Profile platform.
Each of these new features can touch local businesses in new and exciting ways.
The explore section is based on the same familiar look that Google Maps is known for. It now includes an extended “Explore nearby” feature that includes lists for the best restaurants, the most popular landmarks, and tourist attractions and a calendar feature for current events. The section also features lists created by individuals and Local Guides for public use.
Some examples from these lists include “Best Places for Outdoor Activities”‘ and “Top Rated Pizza.” There’s also a section for the latest photos for the geographic area represented.
In this section, Google has created a directions feature that allows the user to find route and traffic information for their current location easily. It also features the ability to select prelabeled locations that have been saved under their account, to use in the directions request. Information provided can include driving instructions and public transportation info.
The Saved area is a great place to organize all of the locations a user has been to and frequents often. There is a Lists feature for creating specific lists like Favorites, Want to go, Starred, and custom lists that you can make public. The feature can hook into a calendar for hotel and restaurant reservations, and there is a place to create custom maps with locations and directions. This section will allow users to organize and share their map results easily.
This is arguably the most important section for individual business owners. The Contribute section of the maps app allows users to directly affect the information on the Maps platform through several means. Users can select from Edit Map, Add Place, Write Review, and Add Photo. All of these are settings and customer input areas specific to Google Business Profile. If the information on the Google Business Profile listing is inaccurate, users can suggest edits. They can leave reviews and add photos to specific the businesses through this feature.
The last new feature we’ll discuss is the updates section. Think of this section as a communications section with information provided to users specifically about their location and user data. Some recommendations can be saved and shared from the “For you” section. There is also a place to send and receive messages from business through the Google Business Profile Messaging platform. This little-used feature in Google Business Profile is now front and center for users to communicate with a business directly. Activation and close attention should be paid to this feature now.
Some of the above features may seem familiar; Google has been evolving the Maps platform throughout its entire existence. What is significant about this update is that Google has made these features available in a more user-friendly way to millions of people. They have consolidated the functionality for efficiency and business owners should expect increased customer interest and interaction as the result of these updates.
The V Digital Services Local SEO plan is designed for optimizing the Google Business Profile listing and creating awareness so that business owners can be more responsive and connected to their clients, thereby taking advantage of more opportunities. We have prepared our clients for these updates, contact us today, and we can do the same for you.