Google Maps – an equally useful tool for customers and businesses alike

May 6th, 2010 by Search Influence Alumni

I can’t fight this feeling any longer. I need to profess my love of Google Maps. Our relationship was a tumultuous one, but she won me over in the end. Living in New Orleans, where some street signs are still missing from their respective corners, Google maps was a saving grace. They also recently started to include bike routes, which guides bikers through the least traffic-laden areas. Though this feature still needs some work, I think it’ll be a great asset to this ever-expanding program.

Google maps doesn’t just serve to make traveling easier or killing time. It also does wonders for SEOs. Google Places, a new version of its Local Business Center, makes the discoverability of local businesses easy and reliable by having the businesses themselves be able to claim and update their own listings.  Now, they’ve extended this into street view. If you’re viewing the map in street view and see a business that catches your attention, you can now click on an icon that has information like hours, reviews, and more. Here is an example:

With this feature, you can browse your neighborhood for local restaurants and stores. From there you can see what bars or dessert joints are down the street from where you’re dining or shopping. It’s a great way to take advantage of your city, or learn about a new one while you’re on vacation.

For now, it will only show the top listings for the area, but they will be expanding to include more businesses and even transit locations. If you’re searching for your business and find the marker is a little off, don’t forget that you can drag it to the proper location.

The weather looks great today, so I think I’m going to take this thing on a test drive and find a spot where I’ve never eaten before. I can’t wait to see what these guys are going to come with next!