I wait in anticipation for my meal to be placed in front of me at a new restaurant I discovered in downtown Columbus. My smartphone rests within reaching distance on the table. As the waitress places the dish in front of me, I notice the delicate plate presentation. My eyes and smartphone light up simultaneously. Hi, my name is Alex and I am a “foodograph” addict.
For all my friends whose Instagram and Snapchat followers are tired of looking at your glorious food pictures, Google is testing a new feature that might just benefit us all! Google is encouraging you to follow your instincts and snap those food pics, and then share them to Google Places for others to see. And Google is making it pretty easy to do so! After taking a food or drink picture in a restaurant, Google Maps will bring up a notification on your phone asking if you would like to share it to that restaurant’s Google Places page. In order to receive these photo notifications, you must have your Location History turned on in your settings.
Not only is this a useful feature that allows potential customers to look through images uploaded by previous customers, but it also means big things for locally owned restaurants, bars and cafes. While this feature is still in beta testing, (only high-ranking members of the Google Local Guides community are participating in this initial rollout), small businesses should get on board now to make sure that their Google My Business pages are all verified, updated and optimized to ensure that this feature will work at their location.
The requirements for a public place to be chosen for these photo notifications are simple. Your business location must be verified in a simple GPS search that can be matched with your Google My Business information, and it must also be a place that Google finds interesting to consumers. There’s no better time to start optimizing your Google presence and making sure that people are interested in what you are providing to them online!
I can say with confidence that when some form of this photo notification feature emerges from the testing phases and into the hands of consumers, I will be posting pictures to every bar, restaurant and cafe I visit! This update creates more consumer interaction with both the restaurant owner and with Google, who seems to be ramping up its efforts to encourage people to leave reviews and photos on its search engine, rather than people utilizing other engines like Yelp.
In conclusion, I encourage the “foodographs” to flow freely and abundantly on my Instagram feed until the day all of us addicts can choose to share them to a place even more meaningful and important to Google and the restaurant industry!