- Google Maps is the most used navigation app
- New Google Maps updates that businesses should be aware of
- Google Maps for graves set to launch!
- How customers can use Google Maps to interact with businesses
Until several years ago, TomTom was one of the best satellite navigation companies in the market – then Google Maps and Apple Maps entered the scene.
However, TomTom is attempting to make a comeback, releasing the GO Navigation and Traffic app with innovative features such as real-time traffic and danger zones and Moving Lane Guidance.
The multinational developer has also launched a free sat nav app called AmiGO, which features real-time traffic and speed camera warnings and voice commands for safer travel to rival Apple and Google.
The recently updated 2.7 version of TomTom GO Navigation also introduces a new route bar to CarPlay, displaying accurate ETAs from your current location and delivering visual/audio reports directly to your vehicle display or sound system.
Some drivers can also navigate using their car steering wheel buttons – an added refinement to the app on CarPlay. These features make the navigation system on CarPlay easier to use than older versions of TomTom sat navs.
Still, Google Maps remains one of the most widely used navigation apps, with more than 1 billion people using the app each month and an average of 5 million active app and website users each week.
Google Maps is the world’s most popular navigation app
According to the latest projections, Google Maps was the most downloaded app of 2020, with an 80% market share in mobile apps.
Research has suggested that Apple Maps plays second fiddle to Google Maps due to the business listings issue.
The matter has become a real problem for businesses. If your business is rendered invisible in the app, you could miss out on sales from people visiting your area. You should make sure that you business is visible on Google Maps, Google my Business as well as on the search engines. If you want more exposure both online and offline for your business, Soar Online can help.
There have been multiple complaints from businesses that Apple lists their personal address as the business location instead of the company address, sending drivers to residential areas instead of the correct destination.
Although Apple could improve its business listings and make business owners more aware of how to list their firm in Apple Maps, there hasn’t been any real effort from the tech giant.
While iOS users tend to use Apple Maps more than Google Maps, it’s not uncommon for users to have both, given that Google Maps offers more reliable driving directions, particularly in urban areas.
If Apple rectified the issue, we could see a power shift, but for now, Google is the clear leader in navigation, thanks to its accurate business information.
We previously spoke about some updates that Google made to its navigation system. The multinational company has since rolled out new prompts on Android and iOS apps and plans to launch Google Maps for graves.
Here are some takeaways from the new updates that you should consider when using Google Maps for your business.
#1 – Permission
Google Maps will ask users to grant the service permission to use GPS and route data to provide real-time traffic updates for other drivers.
Crowdsourcing is becoming a popular method for traffic data and is already used in the Google-owned community-based sat nav app, Waze, which uses live data to ensure an up-to-date map.
Google has been a significant contributor to success for various businesses as real-time updates provide navigational support. Users can also see their route options before reaching out to the company, making it a powerful app.
However, Google said it would be adopting a take-it-or-leave-it approach, meaning that if you don’t grant the app permission to use your GPS data, you won’t be able to see real-time turn-by-turn information.
Although Google could have made the new prompt optional, the accuracy of the data depends on a large number of people using the feature, so the restrictions might tempt people into using crowdsourcing.
With crowdsourced data, drivers can access information on traffic, roadworks, incidents and other relevant details almost instantly, allowing users on that route to take an alternative course to reach their destination.
Although some people might find crowdsourcing invasive, the data could be helpful in the long run.
#2 – Low-emission zone notification
Google Maps has released an update that will now warn drivers in London or other cities when entering a low-emission zone (LEZs) where they will be subject to fees or fines.
Several major cities, such as Birmingham, Paris, Rome and Berlin, have already introduced LEZs to reduce pollution in their busiest areas. In fact, LEZs are commonly found in metropolitan cities, where there tends to be traffic congestion and air pollution levels pose a threat to public health.
However, it can often be difficult to discern where these zones begin, which can catch tourists, local drivers and commuters, heading into another city for business meetings by surprise.
To combat this, Google will warn drivers entering LEZs in major European cities, including London and Paris, which will help customers, colleagues, or stakeholders avoid congested areas.
London also has an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), comprising almost all of the City’s tourist hotspots, which is expanding in October 2021. It covers a span ranging from Tottenham to Dulwich in the south, Acton in the west, and Greenwich in the east.
The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week except for Christmas Day, with charges as following:
- Cars, motorcycles, vans and other specialist vehicles below modern emission standards have to pay £12.50 in the zone
- HGVs, heavy vans and specialist heavy vehicles must pay £100 to drive in the zone
#3 – Sharing
Within the next few weeks, iOS Google Maps users will be able to share their current whereabouts with friends, family and colleagues via text.
According to a recent study conducted by Lawless Research, companies using location data in advertising campaigns saw sales increase by 89%, while their customer base grew by 86% and engagement levels by 84%.
The feature will allow iPhone and iPad owners with the Google Maps app to temporarily send their location via the app drawer in iMessage, enabling users to share content from apps they have installed on their devices.
The live location sharing feature is said to rival the Apple Maps version (Find My app). Furthermore, given that Google Maps is more accurate than Apple Maps, it will be ideal for those situations where you want to monitor someone’s whereabouts.
According to the latest reports, users can send their location as follows:
- Open iMessage on your iOS device
- Swipe left in the app drawer at the bottom of the display until you come across the Google Maps icon
- Tap the app to load the view of your live location and tap “Share your real-time location for one hour”
- You can also choose to share the current location somewhere else on the platform
Unlike Apple, which you can set location sharing on indefinitely, you can only access real-time location in Google Maps for a specific period of time. The new feature is not available to all users just yet, but you can still share the current location of your map coordinates in the app.
#4 – Google Maps for graves
Google Maps was first launched as a desktop application in 2005 to help people get from destination A to destination B. Since then, it has become a reliable tool for traversing the world, thanks to image capture and Telcontar technology.
Surveyors hope that the tool can go further than traditional nav systems and direct people to their ancestors through a grave finder feature.
Historic England, the National Lottery, Family Search, and My Heritage genealogy sites have provided funding for teams to traverse 19,000 gravesites in Britain with backpack laser scanners worth £100,000 to map and photograph graves, headstones and memorials.
According to Tim Viney, owner of the surveyor’s company Atlantic Geomatics and heading the project, the endeavour will eventually create “Google Maps for graves”.
#5 – Customers now receive notifications in Google Maps
Suppose customers submit questions, and the business responds to them. In that case, they can see these notifications in Google Maps and Search – true to Google’s initial statement: “When you get an answer, we’ll notify you through Google Maps.”
Customers can also receive notifications about your business when they are near your company’s location.
To opt out of these notifications, turn off your Google Business Profile.
#6 – Businesses need the Google Maps app to track questions
To receive notifications of customers submitting questions, business owners are required to have the Google Maps app installed on their device, linked to the account that they also use when managing their Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Google rolled out notifications for its Q&A show in My Business during 2018. Consumers can now ask and answer questions in Q&A, which appear in summary or detail on the company’s GMB page.
Customers can also ask questions about businesses they are near in the Google Maps app. From this perspective, business owners should be using the Google Maps app to see when a potential customer has asked a question via a push notification.
#7 – The name and profile of customers who ask questions are visible
By clicking on the submitted question, you will be able to see whoever raised the query, including their name, photos and number of reviews, which also appears on the initial list of questions.
#8 – Businesses should avoid ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers
Google My Business Top Contributor Tom Waddington has stated that there is the potential for yes and no answers to be exploited by way of the customer editing the initial question.
Instead of answering “yes” or “no”, provide detailed, contextual answers that would inform and educate potential customers.
#9 – Up-voting affects how questions are shown
Google said that “upvoting makes popular questions more visible.” It means that questions with several likes will appear more prominent in the actual business listing, meaning that users don’t have to click through to see it. Utilising this feature will be pretty valuable for your most common and important questions and answers.
To summarise, the Google Q&A feature in Maps is a powerful and exciting new tool for businesses, but it will take close monitoring to use it properly. So, be proactive with managing questions and give detailed answers to get the best out of this exciting new feature!