Navigation app Google Maps is one of the most popular services offered by the tech giant that makes your business easier to find. It comes with many features to help users find a location or reach their destination. With all the changes the world has witnessed over the past year, people are relying more than ever on Maps for high-quality, updated information about the places around them – such as if a nearby restaurant is open or if a local grocery store has updated hours and so on. But quite often what many users experience is that the map takes them to the wrong places or cannot find a particular location. So, to help fix this issue, Google recently rolled out three new features that will help make sharing and finding local recommendations and information easier.
The new Google Map features are:
- Photo updates on Maps
- Draw, rename missing roads on Maps
- Google Maps Community Challenge
The features were introduced by the tech-giant so that users can contribute helpful content – about places and roads – for others. The company wants to make it easy for anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge about more than 200 million places in Google Maps. This knowledge helps users to update Maps so that people everywhere can make better decisions about what to do and where to go.
Google is going to roll out a content type in Maps, called a photo update which is a recent snapshot of a place with a short text description. As photos are a great way to learn more about a place, this new feature is an easy way to find and share experiences and highlights with recent photos, without being required to leave a review. It could potentially lead to an influx of user uploads for places and businesses, and those uploads/photos can assist others when deciding where to visit next.
We can view the latest photos that businesses and other people have shared from the “Updates” tab when you’re looking at a place in Google Maps.
How To Add A Photo Update?
To add your own update:
- Select a place in Google Maps
- Go to the “Updates” tab
- Tap on the “Add a photo update” button.
- Select your photos, leave a short description and then post.
Users can upload as many photos as they want in a single photo update and can find photo updates that others people that they have left in the same Updates tab.
Draw, Rename Missing Roads on Maps
This new feature introduces a new, immersive desktop road editing tool that helps users to report road changes such as adding missing roads by drawing lines, quickly renaming roads, changing road directionality, and realigning or deleting incorrect roads. At present, if a user tries to add a missing road, only a pin can be dropped where the road should be and type in the road’s name to submit that information to Google.
How To Report Road Changes?
If you see a road missing on Maps:
- Tap on the side menu button
- Navigate to “Edit the map” option
- Choose “Missing Road” and begin making edits by drawing lines
If a road is closed with details like dates, reasons and directions, the road editor tool will also let Google know the situation.
This new tool will be rolling out over the coming months in more than 80 countries that already allow users to report road updates. However, to make sure the suggestions and edits are accurate, Google will be vetting users’ contributed road updates before publishing them – which will take about seven days for the company to review the submission.
Google Maps Community Challenge
Though people are already proclaiming love and support for local businesses in Google Search and Maps by leaving photos, writing reviews or updating accurate information like a store’s updated hours, Google want to amplify the same with a feature called community challenge.
Google is testing this feature to encourage users to contribute more reviews, photos, and updates on Maps. The company reports that most people using Android in the U.S. can join their first nationwide challenge to gather helpful reviews, photos and updates by the next month.
How To Join The “Local Love challenge”?
To join the new challenge:
- Go to the Contribute tab in Google Maps
- Join the “Local Love challenge”
- Add ratings, reviews and confirm information to support local businesses you’ve visited
From your go-to bakery to the neighborhood hardware store, each contribution will count toward a collective goal of updating 100,000 businesses in one month and these feedbacks will guide future campaigns in more countries.
Local guides on Google Maps
However, at the heart of the fresh and helpful information about a place users see on Google Maps are from Local Guides, who help others by updating Google Maps. Since Google launched the Local Guides program six years ago, this community of contributors has now reached a new milestone: 150 million Local Guides around the world by contributing more than 70% of the reviews, photos and other types of user-generated content on Maps. From local businesses and services to parks and plazas, in 2020 alone – a year where we saw much change-, Local Guides added more than 8 million places to Google Maps (blog.google). People witnessed updated business attributes on more than 17 million places in Maps, like if a restaurant offers takeout or are open for dine-in and so on.
As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, local information is more important now than it ever was and Maps plays an important role here. Digital marketers can – and should – be using Google Maps marketing as part of their wider digital marketing strategies as it can be very useful for any business’s visibility. Companies offering digital marketing in Long Island will help positioning your store in Maps accurately and strategically, not just to rank higher on Google Maps, but also to achieve as high a placement as possible in the local business results listings on relevant Google SERP’s.