Google Maps has four new features to improve the experience for users as well as businesses who use the platform to reach customers.
Here’s a look at everything new in Google Maps and how it can be useful to you.
Messaging From Maps & Search
To facilitate easier communication between businesses and customers, Google is bringing messaging capabilities to Maps and Search.
Businesses with a verified profile can now message with customers directly from the Google Maps app. Messages from customers will appear in the business messages section in the updates tab.
Messaging can be turned on or off from the settings panel of the Google Maps and Google My Business apps.
Google will soon be adding the ability for businesses to see and respond to customers on desktop by adding messages directly in Search.
Customers can already utilize business messaging from search results with an update to Google Posts.
In addition to clicking on the “Message” button in a business’s profile, customers can now start a conversation from any post created in Google My Business.
The example below shows what the new “Message” button look like on a business post.
Updated Performance Insights
Google is adding more metrics to the new set of performance insights rollout out to GMB a couple of months ago.
The new insights track how well a business is performing by measuring the number of customer engagements initiated from Maps and Search.
Google is adding more data to performance insights that will show businesses the queries people are using to find their listing in Maps and Search.
The dataset will track the following information:
Total amount of searches that triggered your business profile.
Whether performance is up or down from last year.
A list of search terms people used to find your business profile.
How many times each search term triggered your business profile.
Google will be adding more data early next year that shows whether customers saw your business via Maps or Search, and if they say saw it on a mobile or desktop device.
All performance data is available up to six months.
A new community feed is being added in the Explore tab of Google Maps.
In the feed users will find the latest reviews, photos, and posts added to Maps by local experts, people you follow, and businesses serving food & drink.
This is one more reason to keep that business listing regularly updated if you’re in the food & drink industry. The more often you publish a post, or add other types of content to your profile, the more often you may show up in peoples’ community feed.
Street View User Contributions
Google is running a pilot test of a new feature that will allow people to contribute imagery to Street View using only their phone.
Using the Street View app, users can record a series of connected images while they move down a street or path.
After footage is recorded and published with the Street View app, Google will automatically rotate, position, and put the sequence of images together.
This feature could prove to be useful for businesses in areas without the best street view coverage. It could also be used to submit updated images to street view of the outside of your business.
The Street View connected photos beta feature is now available for people using the app with an ARCore-compatible Android device in Toronto, Canada, New York, NY and Austin, TX, along with Nigeria, Indonesia and Costa Rica. More regions on the way soon.
Once upon a time, Microsoft Office ruled the business world. By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Microsoft’s office suite had brushed aside rivals such as WordPerfect Office and Lotus SmartSuite, and there was no competition on the horizon.
Then in 2006 Google came along with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a collaborative online word processing and spreadsheet duo that was combined with other business services to form the Google Apps suite, later rebranded as G Suite, and now as Google Workspace. Although Google’s productivity suite didn’t immediately take the business world by storm, over time it has gained both in features and in popularity, boasting 6 million paying customers, according to Google’s most recent public stats in March 2020.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted its emphasis away from its traditional licensed Office software to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), a subscription-based version that’s treated more like a service, with frequent updates and new features. Microsoft 365 is what we’ve focused on in this story.
Nowadays, choosing an office suite isn’t as simple as it once was. We’re here to help.
Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365
Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have much in common. Both are subscription-based, charging businesses per-person fees every month, in varying tiers, depending on the capabilities their customers are looking for. Although Google Workspace is web-based, it has the capability to work offline as well. And while Microsoft 365 is based on installed desktop software, it also provides (less powerful) web-based versions of its applications.
Both suites work well with a range of devices. Because it’s web-based, Google Workspace works in most browsers on any operating system, and Google also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. Microsoft provides Office client apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and its web-based apps work across browsers.