We love the new Google Maps. Not only is it useful for users who are hoping to get directions, it’s also a pretty cool tool to discover great local businesses. Google’s mapping platform currently displays star ratings and reviews, plus a smart search box that can improve any business listing’s “discoverability” on Google.
This week, Google released a new update for Maps, allowing users to make restaurant reservations via OpenTable as well as get precise estimates for ride-sharing service app Uber. (The update is already available for download on iOS and Android.)
If you’re managing a restaurant listed on OpenTable, the new Maps will allow potential and existing customers to reserve a table from their Google Maps app. So far, the reservations feature only covers restaurants in the US, but we can probably expect the OpenTable integration to be rolled out very soon to other parts of the world.
The update also gives Google Maps a fresh new look, with bright colors and surfaces and shadows that echo the real world.
(Check out: “5 Ways OpenTable Can Help Your Restaurant”)
“With Google Maps’ new material feel, layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations and imagery, writes Evelyn Kim, Google Maps UX Designer. “By tapping on a place’s info sheet at the bottom of your screen, you’ll send an info layer gliding up to the top, showing you photos, reviews, and more. And for the adventurous souls looking for a new place to dine or visit, you’ll see more to Explore at the bottom of your map.”
Here are some screenshots of the new Google Maps:
If you’re hoping to enhance your business presence on the new Google Maps, be sure to claim your business listing on Google My Business. That way, you can update the information that appears on Maps search results, including phone number, website URL, business description, physical address, and operating hours. With a Google My Business listing, you can also more effectively manage your online reviews and engage with customers who are talking about your business on Google+.
(Image credit: Google Lat Long)