Recent Google Maps updates – what you should know

It seems that Google strongly believe that their local map system has great potential and the most recent development and updates both of the map engine and the Google Maps Android app are great examples of this situation.

Below you will find a short summary of how the Google Maps solution has developed very lately.

Google Maps in July 2016. Is it the future of SEO?

New ways of adding/editing map location

The internet search giants are supposedly hoping that the end user can be a source of useful knowledge of the locations listed on Google Maps. That is why they have implemented new features for a community using Google Search and Google Maps application on a daily basis. Anybody can now:

  • Suggest an edit to a specific map venue
  • Add a new place to a specific location using the Maps interface
  • Add more details related with a specific place listed on Google Maps

If you share your knowledge with Google, you will get a notification which says: “Thank you for improving Google Maps! You’ve helped others make better decisions about places to go.”

This improvement shows that the approach known from Google Product Forums (where volunteer communities share their knowledge and lend people a helping hand for free) is moving from a closed and exclusive (in some way) space to the environment accessed by millions. It is very possible, as recently mentioned on Search Engine Land, that:

Google is hoping this will help improve the data they [the users] see on Google Maps, while having the community offer the checks and balances when it comes to manipulation and spam.

Map design update: Areas of interest highlighted in the Google Maps interface

Due to its delicate nature, this update may have not been noticed clearly by many. Although, the digital marketing media platforms noted a week ago that the Google Maps design had changed. The update has included:

  • Getting rid of the “unnecessary” map elements (for example: road outlines)
  • Making the map layout clearer and more distinguishable – updating the typography of street names or points of interest

The other element worth mentioning here is that the places in which you can be more interested in are highlighted orange when you zoom in on Google Maps. These are the, so-called, areas of interest – local places where you can find a lot of things to do.

Also, the place pages on mobile now contain a new “carousel” image layout which enables switching between the images and 360-degree photos easily.

Wi-Fi only mode on Android

The most recent feature offered by Google to their users is the Wi-Fi only mode implemented for the Android Google Maps app. It was firstly discovered by the Android Police editorial crew on the 24th of July. This could be something really useful for all the people who do not want to use their bandwidth while navigating with the app. It is also interesting that the update was released in mid-summer, when many people are on their holidays and some of them do not want to use the bandwidth too much (we are all too familiar with the costs of roaming data).

If you use the new Wi-Fi only mode in Google Maps on your Android device, your app will only work in your offline areas (which is a feature implemented by Google some time ago). But, whenever you connect with a Wi-Fi network, you will be able to navigate just the same as if you were in the 3G/4G mode. However, After switching to Wi-Fi only, Google highlighted that:

“A small amount of data might still be used, but it will be significantly less while on Wi-Fi only.”

Google Maps Updates – wrap-up

The updates which have been briefed above show how important user satisfaction is for Google. The features and improvements recently implemented in Google Maps will help you to navigate and find more interesting places in a faster and more effective way. Location pages which can be controlled by the community are showing that it is not only Google’s belief that the better web is not only for the purpose of advertisement, but also for the progression of improved user experience.

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