The Google Maps 2018 Revamp
Google is a dominating force for both organic and local search. Receiving over 3 billion searches daily, It is the most widely used search engine on the internet today. It continues to grow due to its ability to innovate and harness the latest technology in order to improve functionality and enhance the customer experience.
At I/O 2018, Google announced some of their most cutting-edge innovations to one of their most rapidly growing products: Google Maps. Maps and location searches are becoming a focal point for Google and other local search providers as the location of things market is expected to skyrocket to $72 billion by 2025.
Currently, nearly ⅓ of all mobile searches are related to location and as local search continues to become a part of consumers’ everyday lives, Google is doing everything it can to stay top of mind as consumers search for nearby businesses and locations.
The latest enhancements that Google has announced for its mapping application highlights the potential of artificial intelligence, personalization, smart technology, and augmented reality.
The explore tab is something that already exists in the current Google Maps app helping customers find popular locations, essentials (groceries, gas, pharmacies etc.) and points of interest that are nearby. However, the explore tab is getting an aggressive redesign to improve functionality and the user experience.
As customers try to get a better feel for the neighborhood or city they are in, the new explore tab will continue to show them all of the trending restaurants and popular places. It will now also include events and activities that are going on nearby.
One of the new personalization features that is coming to Google Maps will be the “For You” tab. The For You tab allows users to scroll through a personalized selection of recommended businesses based on their preferences.
This section also utilizes information from the web like news articles and critic reviews to show users what is trending in their area. An example of the smart technology used by Google to further enhance this trending recommendation feature is that they will be using their own data from reviews and location-enabled devices to determine which businesses are surging with customers.
Another example of Google innovating and exploring new technology to further personalize the user experience is their new feature called My Score. Google’s algorithm uses a searcher’s preferences, previous reviews and ratings, and places they frequent to learn about the customer and then provide them with a personalized score for each location.
This score tells customers how well a location matches with their preferences and habits, so when a customer can’t decide between two equally great places, they can check out the My Score feature to help them break the tie and point them in the right direction. Regardless of what the overall star ratings and reviews say, the My Score helps indicate which locations are right for each customer.
If you’ve ever been the ringleader trying to rally a group of friends together for the night out, then you know that one of the hardest things to do is getting everyone to agree. The new Group Planning features simplify this process.
Customers can now create a short list of their favorite ideas and options, they can then share this list with a group of friends who can then vote yes or no on each option. The results can be seen in real-time as friends vote, making it easier for the group to see which location is most preferred.
Finally, it seems that Pokemon Go, which was famed for its popularity of augmented reality (AR), has unlocked a whole new world of potential. Google is experimenting with a similar technology that can direct users through their cameras and show them where locations are located in real life.
Managing your online presence becomes even more essential as Google focuses more and more of its new local search updates on personalization and results based on reputation and popularity. In order to drive those customers who are browsing and searching their mapping apps to your locations, you need to build popularity both online and offline.
It really comes down to how your brand performs on a location-by-location basis. Each location must focus on building an online reputation that outshines its local competitors. Those who do will continue to see added exposure outside of the local search results. Schedule a FREE demo to learn how Chatmeter helps multi-location brands optimize their local presence to create visibility in each of their markets and drive store visits offline.