How Will Retailers Leverage Google Maps?
The potential for mapping services to influence consumer purchases was on full display last week at Google’s annual I/O developers conference as the technology giant introduced the biggest redesign of Google Maps since its introduction in 2005.
For retailers, the advances seem to greatly enhance localized marketing efforts. The nameless pins on the former Google Maps version are being replaced with search results that pop up with detailed information. These may include ads or coupons from nearby businesses.
But its real-time, customized targeting that perhaps holds the greatest promise. Clicking on Maps highlights places the individual frequently visits and also makes recommendations for places he or she may enjoy based on the search request. The callouts are drawn from information across all of Google’s services — including the individual’s search and Maps history, Google Plus posts and G-mail — as well as outside information relevant to the search.
Filters also allow for search results that incorporate recommendations from friends. Clicking on a sandwich in a box, for example, may show reviews from Zagat and your friends.
More impressively, when users visit a new city, Google will recommend places to go based on their preferences and those of people with similar tastes. The goal is to present the most relevant information to each user on each search.
"Everybody gets their own map, every time," Jonah Jones, the lead designer for the new Google Maps, told The New York Times.
Beyond customization, the other big change is appearance. Google Earth will be incorporated in the online version of Google Maps. Viewers will be able to zoom in and explore a city’s landmarks or local haunts in 3-D. Even further, people can also view the inside of popular attractions and local businesses using photos people upload to its Panoramio and Picasa photo service.
"We can take advantage of all the work you do," Yatin Chawathe, engineering director for Google Maps Web platform, told Techcrunch. "It’s a shared responsibility."
- Major Redesign of Google Maps Is Unveiled – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Behind The Scenes Of The Big Google Maps Redesign And Its Technical Challenges – TechCrunch
- How Google, with your help, is overhauling its maps – CNET
- Google Maps Overhauled With More Personal Results – PC Magazine
What role will online mapping services play in brand and retail marketing? How should retailers be preparing to capitalize on increasingly sophisticated maps?