Location, Location, Location: Google Maps Get Birthday Upgrade

Google Maps

Google Maps is getting a makeover and retailers will be a beneficiary as it enables more location sharing, data access and social media integration.

Along with a new logo for its 15th birthday, the Google Maps app has stepped up its navigation features, according to reports. Instead of the Explore, Commute and For You tabs, three new ones have been added: Saved, Contribute and Updates. Saved makes favorite locations more accessible, and Contribute makes it quicker to share places and reviews. Updates is a feed of stories, trending nearby spots. It also sends messages to businesses.

Google is also beefing up its AR-powered Live View walking directions to show exact locations. Additionally, Google says Live View will be receiving updates over the coming months, “starting with better assistance whenever you’re searching for a place.”

The global location intelligence market size was valued at $10.6 billion in 2019 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 15.2 percent. Factors such as the growth in portable navigation devices, web-mapping services and smartphone applications are contributing to the market growth. Furthermore, increasing investments in the Internet of Things (IoT), growing penetration of smart devices and network infrastructure are the other factors expected to bolster the market. According to GSMA, the total number of IoT connections accounted for 9.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach over 25.2 billion by 2027.

Aside from its consumer usage, Google and a slew of other companies track and sell location data. In some cases that data is based on mobile locations; in some its based on transaction patterns. It can detect patterns and opportunities for retailers on a very basic level (where are my customers coming from?). On a more sophisticated level it can include predictive analytics, real-time tracking of patterns and trends, and streamlining services and operations of companies. Rising demand for location intelligence data is one of the reasons Google has focused on its Map app.

A stronger map presence is also integrated into Google's press into commerce. It claims hundreds of millions of people shop across Google properties including Search, YouTube, Shopping, Google Assistant and Maps. Google Ads is the most obvious play for retailers, a function which gives merchants advanced analytics to optimize their spend across channels.

Maps, Shopping and Google Ads have been part of Google Cloud Search for Retail, which has been the province of larger retailers. Google is bringing it to the broader retail market this year. Powered by Google Search infrastructure and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, Google Cloud Search for Retail will give retailers deeper level reports on product search results for their websites and mobile applications.

“Retailers today are increasingly centralizing their user data in Google’s BigQuery data analytics platform, and then building personalization and recommendation models on top of this data. Today, Google is announcing Google Cloud 1:1 Engagement for Retail, a blueprint and best-practice guide on how to build these types of data-driven solutions effectively and with the less up-front cost. Delivered by Google Cloud and our ecosystem of partners, 1:1 Engagement for Retail helps retailers create hyper-personalization at scale,” Google said on its official blog.

Companies offering location data platform like Google, HERE, CARTO, Mapbox, GroundTruth, Foursquare, TomTom, Factual, Quadrant and many others are competing with Google. The goal for retailers using these services is to move beyond analytics reports and into real-time business-critical applications, gives businesses a competitive edge they didn’t have before.

“It has become clear across every industry that the highest-growth companies out there put location first, and we are now entering an era where Location Intelligence is not only limited to early adopters in Silicon Valley (e.g. Google, Uber, Amazon), but is opening up to a much wider range of players (e.g. telecommunications, energy and utilities, and financial services),” said Javier de la Torre, founder and chief Strategy officer at CARTO.



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