Google Maps Upgrade

Remember actual, physical maps? It’s a safe bet our children won’t.  A recent Google study found that 55% of New Zealanders have used a Smartphone to access Google Maps, an increase of 37% year on year. It doesn’t take a Google scientist to work out which direction the trend’s going.

We’re experiencing the rebirth of context, and it matters: where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with all impact on your receptivity to messages. And with the latest release of the Google Maps app, new opportunities are opening up to meaningfully place brands into that moment.

New features have been introduced that allow advertisers to target local business searches, ranging from the specific i.e. Tony’s Pizza to generic such as Italian restaurants. Relevant ads can now appear on the bottom of individual Google Map searches.  Once clicked, users can access an advertiser’s phone number, reviews, photos and much more.  In fact, users can now click on an ad to get detailed directions on how to get to the advertisers store from their current location.

This means search marketers need to start reconsidering the impact that search context has for their brand. Location and time of the search query (the implicit query in a search) can be as important as the explicit search term itself, particularly for retailers.  Given smartphone penetration and usage of tools like Google Maps this seems a given, but don’t just take our word for it. Google’s Sergey Brin sees the future of search inextricably linked to context:

“My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all. You’d just have information come to you as you needed it.”

The latest Google Maps developments seem to be another step towards this vision. For more information on the new functionality, check out:

Date: September 12, 2013