Google has announced a new feature for their Google Maps platform that some see as a way for the company to compete with certain aspects of Facebook’s business model. Let’s take a look at the feature and what it means for companies and consumers.
As part of the Google Maps app, users can now follow businesses they enjoy or frequent often so they can keep up to date. In the “For You” tab within the app, you will see any business you’ve chosen to follow and receive updates such as:
- Upcoming events
- Special offers
- Promotions and sales
- Hours changes
- Location changes
- New products, services, menu items, etc.
In short, just about anything new you’d want to know about a business, and anything new they’d want to share with you, will be possible via the new follow feature. This will help consumers get a better sense of everything a business can provide as well, making it so that reviews are not the only available source of information.
People will no doubt see the similarity to Facebook’s business pages, which offer the same functionalities. In the past, Google Maps has been a great place for consumers to go to locate a business, but Facebook was clearly the leader in keeping you updated about that business.
The new follow feature changes that and will help Google Maps be a more viable alternative to Facebook when it comes to customer outreach.
A few other notes on this rollout:
- The “For You” tab is at present available only in limited markets, but Google is planning on expanding to a variety of countries soon
- Currently, only Google Maps for Android has the new feature, so iOS users will presumably need to wait a bit for their version
- With over 150 million locations currently featured on Google Maps, the impact this feature could have for businesses and consumers could be quite sizeable
“Coming Soon” Feature
Along with the new following functionality, Google Maps will allow consumers to connect with new businesses before they officially open their doors.
Businesses will be able to create a profile that appears up to three months prior to their opening date. These emerging businesses will feature an opening date shown in orange text to help them stand out.
This is a great way for a new business to get the word out about their services and products, along with everything they’ll be able to offer to the comm