Google Takes On Facebook With Biz ‘Follow’ Option

Google has announced two updates to Google Maps that will make it easier for users to follow preferred places, as well as find out about new businesses coming soon.

“Those using Google Maps for Android can now follow places right from the app,” wrote Product Manager Paul Cole at Google Maps in a blog post. “Rolling out now, just search for that coffee shop you love or that clothing store you’ve been meaning to pop into, and tap the ‘Follow’ button. Once you’ve followed places, news from them like events, offers and other updates will appear in the For You tab (where available, with more countries coming soon!).”

Users can see profiles for places before they open, with the opening date found in orange. Businesses can also create a free Business Profile that will appear to people up to 3 months before opening their doors. According to reports, the new feature will be accessible to the over 150 million places already on Google Maps, as well as millions of users.

This is just the latest update to Google Maps. In June, it launched new features that will help users find the best spots to eat, drink and play based on their interests.

The redesigned Explore tab — which gives users recommendations for restaurants, bars and cafes in any desired area — includes trending lists from local experts and Google’s algorithms to help find the best burger, beer or brunch spot in town. Foodies can also automatically keep track of their progress regarding any of the restaurants featured in the trending lists.

“So if you’re on a mission to try the 10 best tacos in your area and you’ve only tried five, Google Maps will note that for you so you can get to the tacos pronto,” wrote Sophia Lin, Senior Product Manager at Google Maps.

Other features like group trip planning, music controls, commuter tools and ETA sharing have also been added to Google Maps in recent months.