Will Google Maps bring a new dimension to the in-store experience?
Google Maps’ Live View function has long helped tourists and locals navigate metropolitan streets and explore restaurants and other sites in view of the company’s roving cameras. Now, with an artificial intelligence (AI) boost, Google is bringing the technology indoors.
Google is on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps to provide “the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it,” according to a company blog.
Live View, based on scans of tens of billions of Street View images, is known for providing individuals walking city streets with insights into nearby restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels and pharmacies. For restaurants, insights include ratings, prices and whether they accept reservations and are “open now.”
AI advances will now enable access to the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building to help navigate indoor spaces, such as airports, transit stations and malls.
“If you’re catching a plane or train, Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs and more. Arrows and accompanying directions will point you the right way,” wrote Google. “And if you need to pick something up from the mall, use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap.”
In stores, Google Map can also be used to avoid lengthy grocery lines, book appointments and for contactless payments.
Other advances include:
- Notifications on Google Maps will be sent to buy online, pickup in-store customers when it’s time to leave to pick up an item. The shoppers’ ETA is continuously updated, based on location and traffic to prioritize when the item should be brought out to the shoppers’ car. Google tested the function as part of a pilot with Fred Meyer.
- New routing capabilities that enable drivers to lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion.
Google Maps also promises to link to other Google technologies. Albertsons Cos. just announced a partnership with Google that includes “shoppable maps with dynamic hyperlocal features,” as well as AI-powered conversational commerce and predictive grocery list building.
- Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI – Google
- Maps tips for the adventurer, foodie and go-getter in you – Google
- Albertsons Companies and Google Partner to Reinvent the Future of Grocery Shopping – Albertsons/Google/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How might Google Maps or similar navigation technologies transform the in-store shopping experience? What functions do you think will prove the greatest value?