Google to update Maps with four sparkling new features, designed to enhance user experience for searchers, as well as businesses who use Maps to reach their customers.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know…
Maps & Search Messaging
Google is bringing the capability for customers and businesses to message each other on Maps and Search. The aim of this is to simplify communication on the platforms, making it easier for customers to reach out to businesses.
If a business has a verified profile, they are now able to speak with customers through messaging on the Google Maps app. When a customer sends a message, it will pop up in the business messages section under the updates tab. There is also the option for messages to be turned on or off in the settings.
In Search, customers will be able to directly send messages to businesses on desktop, enabling businesses to easily see and reply to them. Business messaging from search results is already available to customers in a Google Posts update. Customers could already click onto a business profile and start a conversation that way, however with this update, they will be able to message businesses directly through every post made on Google My Business.
Metrics in Performance Insights
In addition to the new performance insights Google rolled out a couple of months ago, they are now introducing more metrics to these insights. The intention of the new insights was to measure business performance through engagements from customers that originated on Maps and Search.
The new metrics that Google are adding to these insights are as follows:
- The total number of searches that triggered your business profile
- Performance increase or decrease from the previous year
- The search terms users are inputting to find your business profile
- The number of occasions any of these search terms triggered your business profile
Google is also planning on adding data that displays if customers came across your business through Maps or Search, and whether this was on a desktop or mobile device, sometime in the near future.
Within the Explore tab, a new community feed will be introduced on Google Maps. Any posts that businesses publish on Maps, as well as the latest reviews and photos, will appear to users in this feed. This brings added incentive for businesses to regularly update their listing with fresh content, increasing the opportunity to be visible in users’ community feed.
User Contributions to Street View
Google is testing a Street View connected photos beta on selected, compatible mobile devices in certain regions around the world. In this beta, people who use the Street View app are able to contribute imagery through their mobile devices.
Users can record through the camera on their phone when they are walking down any street while using the Street View app. When the images are published, Google is able to automatically adjust the photos to make them fit together in a sequence.
This could be a really exciting way for businesses to show their business location on Street View. Business owners themselves would potentially have the capability to contribute the images of their shopfront, for example. It will also help to improve areas on Street View that do not have as good a quality of coverage – particularly benefitting the businesses in these areas.