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What Changes to Google Maps Mean for Your Business

You may have noticed the Google map on your Contact Us page isn’t working. If you’re wondering what happened, here’s what’s going on.

On May 2, Google rolled out significant updates to its maps program. The goal of the changes is to condense and improve the user experience. The upgrades also include a new name: the Google Maps Platform.

What are the Updates?

To start out, Google is condensing the original 18 application programming interfaces into three: maps, routes, and places. Previously, Google offered a single payment plan for these services. With the update, users can pay for a feature when they elect to use it.

As a sort of iteration of Foursquare, Yelp, or Zagat, the new Google Maps allows users to compile lists within the “For You” tab. So someone can save and follow places, such as restaurants, coffee shops, or even specific neighborhoods. As a result, users will now see notifications from events and locations in their newsfeeds.

Another exciting feature is the implementation of augmented reality into the navigation. As someone is following the directions given by Google, they are presented with a real-time view of their surroundings, while arrows point the user through the steps of the navigation. In the augmented reality, restaurant and business names are shown as a user passes them by, giving the businesses additional visibility within the app.

Why Does This Matter to Your Business?

Google’s goal is to add features you now might find on other apps. This content-based system integrates all your Googling to consider things you’ve asked about before and more. Your business might start appearing in the news feeds of users who indicated their interest in your products or services, meaning you have an opportunity to market yourself as a recommendation.

Many people rely on the information given online to learn about business hours, customer reviews, and contact details. Any easy way to keep a company’s SEO high is to register with Google My Business. The information you post is visible within the new maps app. That means your business needs to update its Google information any time you have changed, so your details are always up to date.

Map Not Working?

The changes also mean the maps you have installed on your Contact page won’t work until you update your billing information. Google will now charge based on how many visitors are using your maps. For most small business owners, the cost remains free, but you’ll still have to set up your credit card with them before your map works.

Once you’ve updated your billing information, you’ll also have to update the API key on your website. If you’re not sure how to do this, contact your webmaster, IT team, or us for help.

While these changes are frustrating for those who just want their embedded map to work, these changes might present another marketing opportunity, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar location. Contact us if you have questions about your online marketing.