Earlier this month, Google Maps celebrated its 15th anniversary by rolling out a new icon along with an app redesign and some new features!
So, what do all these updates entail? Let’s talk about each one in detail.
The Famous Pushpin Is Updated
By far the biggest change was the Google Maps icon. The iconic pushpin that evolved with Google over the years is now branded to match the other Google services.
Google said, “It’s based on a key part of Google Maps since the very beginning—the pin— and represents the shift we’ve made from getting you to your destination to also helping you discover new places and experiences.”
Take a look at just how many times the famous Google Maps pushpin has changed over the years by clicking play on this video:
App Redesign for Google Maps
Not only will you see a new icon, but some new tabs and features as well! Whether you use an Android or iOS operating system, you’ll be able to utilize these updates to your advantage.
Once you open the app, you’ll see five tabs at the bottom labeled Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates.
GIF provided by Google
Here’s what you should know about each tab:
- Explore: If you’re looking for a new lunch spot or somewhere for date night, this tab will be more than helpful! You’ll be able to see information about businesses, their reviews, ratings and much more.
- Commute: Similar to the app before the redesign, the commute tab will help you find the quickest route to your destination. You can also access real-time traffic updates and travel times in this tab.
- Saved: Believe it or not, there are more than five billion places on Google Maps. Now you can view all your saved businesses in one spot. This tab can be very useful when planning on a trip or for sharing recommendations to places you’ve been.
- Contribute: Have you ever wondered how Google Maps has updated information constantly? You can thank the hundreds of millions of people who contribute each year! In this tab, you’ll be able to share local knowledge, missing places, photos and more. We’ll talk more about being a Google Local Guide a little later on in this blog.
- Updates: If you’re looking to get to know the area you live or work in better, then head over to the updates tab! You can find a feed of trending spots from local experts. In this tab, you’ll also be able to chat with businesses to get your questions answered. Pretty cool, right?
How These Updates Can Improve Local Guide Contributions
If you haven’t heard of what a Google Local Guide is, let me break it down.
Local Guides are normal consumers who dedicate time to review/recommend businesses they visit. Being a part of this program is free and helps enhance the local experience for people searching for businesses online.
There are perks that go along with being a Local Guide, too! As a Local Guide for my area, I’ve received numerous awards for leaving reviews and being active with my contributions. The latest perk I’ve earned the cute pair of socks pictured below.
With these new updates, our team feels as though contributions from Local Guides will continue to rise as it’s easier to access business listings through the Google Maps app.
If you haven’t dived into the Local Guide world and it’s something you’re interested in, you can learn more here.
Is Google Becoming a Social Platform?
While these updates are great, it brings one question to mind – Is Google trying to become a social media channel?
This may be a stretch this early on, but with the latest updates and app redesign, it seems as though Google Maps is mimicking other social platforms, such as Facebook.
For example, the Explore tab seems very similar to Facebook’s “Events You May Like” section within the Events tab. On both platforms, you can also see similarities with recommending businesses to friends and family.
The look and feel of the new Google Maps app also gives a social media-type vibe. Since Google+ was officially shut down in August 2019, it’s safe to say that Google is making moves toward creating a new social platform for their brand.
Because Google Maps is offering more than directions from point A to point B since the original launch of the app, this makes it even more important for you to make Google Posts for your business! If you haven't started creating posts for your Google My Business (GMB) listing, now is the time to start incorporating them into your strategy.
Who’s to say when Google will create a social platform, but I feel it’ll be here before we know it!
As the online space continues to progress, it’s inevitable that Google needs to make updates for their services. These latest updates are sure to improve user experience by making the app easier to navigate and use.
What are your thoughts on these updates? We’d love for you to join the conversation with us on our Facebook page!