Google Maps Launches New Features: Messaging, Metrics & More
2020 has been nothing short of eventful for Google Maps! It’s been a year for updates and new features because, in this COVID-19 world, we’re changing how we do business.
Google is still on a roll, however, after announcing the rollout of four additional features aimed at making the app more focused on community engagement: messaging, new metrics, a community feed, and street view user capabilities. These features aim to improve the app’s overall user experience as well as assist businesses to reach customers using the platform.
As avid supporters and partners with small local businesses in New Zealand, it’s exciting to see more capabilities for business owners to make the most of their local online profiles through Google My Business’ new features. Let’s take a closer look at these new features and how they can be useful to your brand!
1. New Messaging Capabilities
Google Maps brings all-new messaging capabilities to Maps and Search in hopes to improve communication between businesses and customers. Verified business profiles can now send messages directly to customers using the Google Maps app while searchers can interact with businesses and ask questions.
All you need to do is turn messaging on from your Business Profile. Messages from customers will show up in the business messages section in the app’s “Updates” tab.
Apart from the new “message” button, customers can also initiate a conversation from any post created in Google My Business. Users can also enable and disable the messaging capabilities from the settings panel of Google Maps.
In the future, Google is looking to add a feature where businesses can see and respond to customers on desktop by adding messages directly on Google Search.
2. Improved Performance Insights
Google is in the works of adding more metrics to its line of performance insights from this month to the beginning of next year. These new insights will track how customers discover your business by measuring the number of customer engagements initiated from Maps and Search.
The dataset will track the following:
The total amount of searches that triggered your business profile
Business performance and whether it is up or down from last year
A list of search terms people used to find your business profile
Number of times search terms triggered your business profile
Having all this data on-hand will make tracking the success of your Local SEO efforts much more straightforward!
3. Community Feed
Another breakthrough feature is Google Maps’ new community feed. It will appear in the Explore tab of Google Maps and will allow users to discover the latest reviews, photos, and posts added to Maps. The feed will curate reviews, photos, and posts from the people you follow, including trusted local experts and businesses in the food and drink industry.
This is a great opportunity for businesses to update their listings regularly and better connect with their customers, as well. Local business posts on GMB will appear in the new community feed, providing better visibility for things like your new menu or service update.
This new community feed is very reminiscent of Instagram’s feed. We all know that IG is a place where businesses post new products and services and to connect with their customers. Thanks to all these new features, however, Google looks to become another all-in-one hub for customers to communicate with and stay updated on their favourite local brands.
It will be very exciting to see how customers and businesses and customers alike will utilise this new feature!
4. Street View
Last but not the least, Google is piloting a new feature that allows people to share images to street view using their mobile phones. The updated Street View app now enables users to record a series of images while they move down a street or path. Once published, Google will arrange the sequence of photos together to help areas gain the best street coverage.
The Street View beta feature is now available for people using the app with an ARCo-re-compatible Android device in Toronto, Canada, New York, NY and Austin, TX, as well as Nigeria, Indonesia, and Costa Rica. The beta feature will be available in more regions in the coming days.
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Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.
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