Google Maps: 2017 Updates
Over the last few months, Google Maps has undergone major algorithm changes and added real-time traffic features to improve its local search results, it’s social connectivity, and even make its GPS service more improved.
Google’s quest to make the perfect Maps application for mobile users has had an unprecedented impact on local search rankings, beginning with its infamous Possum update.
In light of the recent “Favorite Places” update, Google Maps has become the ultimate personal companion in planning your day and discovering the local attractions that so many people love.
Google Maps “Favorite Places”
With a simple update, Google Maps’ users will have the opportunity to ping and save local places to a list of places they either “Want to go” or are their “Favorites.”
By clicking share, a link will be sent out to other users who can choose to follow and will than be added to their own Maps list. The move by Google was an attempt to get users to interact with their Maps app more.
This beautiful update will now provide users with the third party recommendations they are looking for during a local search. Users will be able to plan out activities and places to go for visiting friends and family before they arrive.
Say goodbye to the stress of finding a restaurant to eat at as users can simply consult their list or another’s to see which places are truly to die for. Users will be able to ping friends and families with their favorite spots and an icon will appear on the map whenever a user is near one of their favorite locations.
The update by Google represents a new approach to local search as Maps will become the ultimate personal assistant to vacation and late night planning, which so many users have craved. With recommendations to other users and personalized lists, users can now customize their own local maps to include the places they love and loathe. The update requires no downloads and is integrated right into your existing Maps app.
Google Maps Possum Update
Google Maps and its local search features have also been eyeing up the way that organic search results are filtered and displayed. Back in November, 2016 Google began A/B testing their Possum update fix the bugs, which were negatively impacting local search listings. Here were some of the changes:
- Businesses could now rank higher for local keywords even if they existing outside of the physical city limits
- Google is filtering local search listings based on address and affiliation for the most relevant results
- The location of the searcher impacts their local search results
- Slight keyword variations affect local search listings
- Local businesses can now rank in local searches even if they are ranked in organic searches
Real Time Traffic Updates
At the start of 2017, many users began noticing traffic notifications on their smart phones. Released separately for IOS and Android, Google Maps began providing traffic updates in real-time to users based on their most visited locations and to users actively using the Maps app to reach specific locations. Simply swipe up within the app and Maps will provide users with road conditions and traffic delays that will impact their routes. The app will also provide nearby options for the nearest ATMs, restaurants, etc. and, of course, the quickest directions to get there. Google’s legendary app is shaping itself to be the perfect local search and driving companion.
Popular Times Update- IOS
So maybe you visited a restaurant that your friend pinged you from their “Favorites” list and you arrived to find yourself waiting an hour for a table. With the “popular times” update to IOS, Google will now provide users with a bar graph of the most popular times a restaurant or business experiences so you can beat the rush and the traffic. An icon will also display parking options based on three tiers: limited, medium, and easy.
Some other updates for Google Maps include the local speed limit for Android users engaged in the GPS journey guide. The app will adapt to reflect urban roadways, highways, and country roads. It’s GPS journey guide has also been updated to reflect where you are on your journey in relevance to your destination.
With all of these updates, Google is trying to help local search competition by giving consumers better information and real-time updates to guide users to the most relevant and convenient locations for their purchases. With added social connectivity and its sophisticated local listing information, users can now find their destination in and at their best convenience. With Google’s vast search network, Google Maps will soon become the ultimate personal assistant in planning your day and getting you to where you need to be without all of the hassle.