The world’s most popular map app has a sleek new look and a few new tricks to wow the masses. Updates to a map app don’t usually warrant the attention of business owners, but this app is different. From the new features to the new design, the newest upgrades for the Google Maps app are just as good for marketers as they are for people who need directions.
The newest version of the app will be rolling out over the next few days as users update their apps. It’s little coincidence that the updated map app comes as Google releases their newest version of Android, Lollipop.
“Over the next few days, when you open up Google Maps on your Android or iPhone, you’ll be greeted by bright colors and a fresh new design. This new look is all about creating surfaces and shadows that echo the real world; with Google Maps’ new material feel, layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations and imagery,” said Google in a blog post.
The biggest change is to the design and feel of the app. By tapping on a place’s info sheet at the bottom of the screen, an info layer glides up to the top, showing business photos, reviews, and more. They’ve also made it easier to use the new Explore feature that was introduced back in July.
“With Explore as your guide, you’ll see different places and activities that adapt to each area and moment throughout your day,” the company explained when Explore was first launched. “This also works when you’re browsing other neighborhoods and cities on the map so you can plan your day’s outing or daydream about your next vacation.”
Though Google is making a big fuss about the design changes, there are also some major updates to features. For example, though the move will be decried by taxi drivers, Google has further integrated Uber into the new version of the app. Besides being able to get a driver through the app, the app will now give pickup time information and an estimated price for the best route.
Restaurant owner should take note that Google Maps now lets users reserve tables at restaurants they see on Google Maps. The restaurant has to be using OpenTable, the online reservation service that’s free for diners and the restaurant pays a fee per reservation booked. OpenTable has been a good internet marketing tool for restaurants in the past, but this latest nod from Google makes the service more valuable. If someone is using Google Maps to search for a restaurant near them, they are far more likely to choose a restaurant where they can make a reservation directly from the app.
Similarly, local businesses should be very concerned about how well their business is represented when someone uses the flashy new Google Maps app to search for local service providers. Business owners should look up their business on Google Maps to see if the information is accurate; make sure high-quality images from the business can be found, etc. If consumers begin using the Google Maps app as their main means of searching for local business, people will the Google Maps listing before they get to see the businesses mobile site.
The updates to Google Maps are another reason why local business owners need to use internet marketing and mobile marketing. A business can get by without having a flashing entry on Google Maps, but it’s a wasted opportunity that would cost them business. Read this article for more stats and information on why local businesses need internet marketing.