The newest addition to the Google universe is the Yelp-like ability to do quick research on a restaurant or contact them with a message, all inside the Google Maps app. Instead of having to leave the Google Maps app to find more information about a business, you will be able to ask them questions directly using a built-in messaging app. If you don’t have this ability yet, Google will be rolling it out to you soon.
How it works
For messaging through Google Maps to work, both the business and the customer have to have the app. For customers, this isn’t a problem because this feature is being rolled out automatically into the Google Maps app. You don’t have to do anything to have this option available to you.
Businesses that want to access messages from customers need to complete a few more steps. To get started, go into Google Play or the App Store and download the new “Google My Business” app. Within the app, there will be a verification process to prove your ownership of that business. Once that is completed, your Messages portal is open and ready to go.
If you are looking to connect with a business, tap the business on Maps, and look for the Messaging icon. If it is there, that business has this feature enabled.
When you tap on the messaging icon, you will see a greeting from the business and can enter your question there.
For another way to access the messaging feature, swipe in from the left and tap the “Messages” option. Listed in the “For You” tab you will find messages with the businesses you have connected to with any alerts you may received displayed.
If you have a question that you can wait a bit to receive an answer to, using this Messenger portion of the app is more convenient, especially if you are in a situation where picking up the phone and actually calling would be awkward.
This new feature allows you to “follow” companies, similar to Facebook. You’ll receive notifications from the companies you follow with their latest news. With the amount of email people receive every day, receiving alerts from restaurants with coupons in this app may make them stand out and reduce the amount of time you spend searching for a good deal on dinner.
And for those of you who do a lot of messaging, these business messages stay separate from personal messages, so you don’t run the risk of accidentally telling the clerk at your local shoe store that you love him.
The new Messaging feature in Google Maps can potentially be a great marketing tool for small businesses. It creates a one-stop shop for small businesses to update communication with their customers. It opens up the possibility of chatting with the public without taking up employees’ valuable time.
News, discounts, and events from a business have the potential to receive more views in this platform, especially now, as it is just launching.
Some people believe that with the addition of this new feature, Google Maps may be getting a little bloated. Recently, it has also added the ability to share ETAs with friends and family and numerous other components that are making the user interface more cluttered.
If you are always looking for a new way to get information about businesses you would like to try, using this new feature might give you just what you need.