My Google Map Blog

Tag: search

Road tripping on Route 66

by Matthew Cruickshank on Apr.30, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Ninety-six years ago on April 30th, one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System was assigned its numerical designation of 66, creating what we know today as Route 66. But to say Route 66 is just a highway is a grave understatement. After all, it is the most-searched U.S. highway of all time.

One of the perks of working as a Doodler (I promise, it’s a real job) was getting to drive the 2,448-mile journey from Chicago to Los Angeles in my ‘72 Chevelle. I got to experience this captivating road trip firsthand, to create a Doodle celebrating Route 66.

This Doodle, which is essentially an animated sketchbook of various historic spots along the route, is the product of more than 100 paintings and sketches I created from the side of the road and countless U-turns. I remember being utterly lost one day, driving further and further down an old dirt road, when I finally saw an old man sitting on a lawn mower. “Is this Route 66?” I enquired. “Boy, this isn’t even Route 6!” he responded. Even the dead ends were interesting.

If this Doodle has you feeling inspired to take a trip across Route 66, we also caught up with a member of Google Maps’ Local Guides community who has some tips of his own to help you hit the road and explore.

Local tips from a Local Guide

Rhys Martin is a Level 6 Local Guide from Tulsa, Oklahoma who also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. Having driven all 2,400 miles of the existing route, Rhys is passionate about adding photos and reviews to Google Maps that help raise awareness for the variety of experiences — from big cities and rural communities, to farmland, mountains, deserts, mom-and-pop motels and kitschy roadside attractions — a road trip down the historic highway provides. We asked him to share his best tips, tricks and recommendations to discover and experience his favorite spots along the route.

  • Discover local businesses along the route: By searching for something like “U.S Route 66 Restaurants” on Google Maps you can virtually explore restaurants or other businesses across all eight states along the route. This way, you can familiarize yourself with attractions, view how much certain restaurants cost, read reviews and even see popular menu items to help you choose places you want to visit.
  • Plan your road trip with Lists in Google Maps: Once you discover the places you’re interested in visiting, save them to a list that can serve as an itinerary so you can support local businesses — and help preserve history – along the route. You can even share your list with others, or make them collaborative so you can plan together!
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: Photographing the details of a place — like the decades-old neon signage or the original menus hanging behind the counter — and sharing them through reviews on Google Maps helps capture the essence of an establishment and helps others discover places they want to visit.

While Oklahoma has the most drivable miles of Route 66, Rhys says there’s so much to see in all eight states along the route. If you’re itching to plan the perfect summer road trip, check out a list of his must-see spots across Route 66 from Illinois to California.

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The women behind some of Google’s most impactful products

by Mallory De Leon on Mar.15, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we talked to two women who have shaped the history of some of Google’s most impactful products. From building Google Search crisis hotlines to improving Street View and Photos, these Googlers share more about their jobs, career advice and the responsibility they feel to help others.

From seeing patients in the ER to building crisis hotlines

How does being a woman impact the features you build?

As an ER doctor, I cared for women struggling with personal crises like suicide, sexual assault and domestic violence. As a mom of two girls, I empathize with the real-world challenges these women face, like keeping their children safe and finding time to get the help they need. Listening to their stories has challenged me to identify blind spots in our design process and make sure the features we build have real-world impact. For example, we know that timely access to different communication modes is essential, so we prioritized the simplicity and visibility of phone, chat and text services when designing our hotline features.

How do the skills you learned in ER translate to your current job?

In the emergency room — much like with crisis hotlines — you never know who will walk through the door or what their situation will be. In this environment — where time is of the essence — the ability to solve problems outside of your comfort zone, work together as a team, and be agile can save lives. Bringing these skills to my role has helped me be a more effective leader and drive greater impact across our features.

Google has an opportunity to empower people to take the next steps in their journey to find help. We can pave the path from helping people find information to connecting them with timely, life-saving resources and compassionate support.

What inspired you to leave the ER and work on personal crisis hotlines at Google?

I love helping people in a moment of need — or as my mentor, Dr. Brian J. Zink, says “Anyone, Anything, Anytime.” Becoming a product manager at Google challenges me to provide support on a global scale. In urgent situations, like personal crises, Google has an opportunity to empower people to take the next steps in their journey to find help. We can pave the path from helping people find information to connecting them with timely, life-saving resources and compassionate support.

Helping others see the world in Street View

What do you love most about building products and features at Google?

Part of my personal mission is to make people happier, healthier and more productive in their day-to-day lives. When people say “this product makes life much easier" or "this feature is a great improvement,” it’s really rewarding. It makes the world feel a little smaller when someone from a completely different background experiences the same joy as I do for something I’ve built.

Feelings are just another data point, and if you pay attention they can reveal a lot.

Woman to woman, what’s the best career advice you’ve gotten?

Women in tech often avoid talking about feelings for fear of coming across as “too emotional.” So, I really appreciated it when a female mentor helped me flip that narrative. Feelings are just another data point, and if you pay attention they can reveal a lot. Feelings alone don’t give you much information, but if you take the time to ask yourself, “Why am I feeling funny about this?” you can figure out if something going on is not aligned with your values, priorities or goals. Then you can then shift from the feelings space to the logic space to figure out what to do about it.

What impactful things are you working on with Street View?

Street View is immensely valuable for getting a sense of a new place before you visit — whether for vibe, navigation or safety. Understanding what to expect when you go somewhere new can give anyone more comfort as they get things done. Right now, I’m working with my team to improve how everyone can contribute to Street View so people can get even more information about a place before they go there.

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Create a work of heart on Valentine’s Day with Google

by Olive Yu on Feb.12, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Every February, I tell myself I’m going to make homemade Valentine’s Day cards for my family and friends…and every February 13, I realize I’m nearly out of time. Add the fact that these days it’s ultimately easier to deliver digital gifts, and I’m ready to give up on the whole thing.

This year I’ve come up with a few new ideas, courtesy of apps and tools from Google. They might be made for the office or school, but there are some truly impressive ways you can use these apps for your creative endeavors. Here are five ways you can make Valentines with Google products.

  1. Use Google Sheets to make some lovely pixel art (emphasis on love). You might think of invoices and project tracking when you think of Google Sheets, but it can also be a pixel art palette. These can be as simple or as complex as you want — do it yourself by selecting and coloring in Sheets cells to make an image, or search the Google Workspace Marketplace by hitting the right-hand sidebar and selecting “add ons.” (If words are more your thing, you could even try making a cute crossword puzzle.)
A screenshot of a Google Sheet with the title “Happy Valentine’s Day!” at the top. The pixels of the Sheet are colored in shades of gray, white, and pink to reveal a picture of a hand holding a balloon that says “love.”

2. Create a digital card with Google Slides. This is an especially useful option if you aren’t able to see someone on Valentine’s Day. Make a digital slideshow full of photos, videos and notes; then you can either send the file or publish it to the web.

3. Set up a shared library with Google Photos. Use partner sharing in Google Photos to create a shared library of photos and videos for you and your better half. You can choose if you want to share all your photos or just shots of specific loved ones or pets, as well as the date you want to start sharing and Google Photos will automatically take care of the rest.

4. Send a fun Google Form to your partner. More than a couple of Google Forms used for dating purposes have gone viral, and you can put your own spin on one for the big day. Be sure to check out the Template gallery to find a look you like, or add your own images and choose a different font to make your form stand out.

A screenshot of a Google Form with a header photo of a hand holding a balloon that says “love.” The Form is titled “A Valentine’s Day quiz!”

5. Reminisce on romantic trips with Google Maps. Feeling nostalgic? Take a walk down memory lane with the Trips tab in Timeline to see all of the places — from beaches to cute cafes - that you visited on your last vacay.

6. Get some material from Google Assistant. Ask Google Assistant how to say “I love you” in another language, or ask for a Valentine’s Day joke or a “fact about love” to impress someone.

Or maybe you’re more interested in watching a few rom-coms on February 14. According to Google Trends, the most-searched types of romantic movies in the U.S. since 2004 are:

  1. Teen romance movies
  2. Black romance movies
  3. Romance comedy movies
  4. Sad romance movies
  5. Christmas romance movies

You could take some inspiration from a few of Google Search’s trending Valentine’s Day terms from the past week — like “chick fil a valentines day tray” (+1,650%), “valentine lovebirds lego” (+600%) or “valentines crocs” (+400%). A few more breakout terms from the past month include: “valentines converse,” “starbucks valentines 2022,” “valentines coloring pages” and “nike valentines day shoes 2022.”

And if you’re still not quite sure how to celebrate, there’s one fail-safe option: chocolate. According to Google Trends, Godiva just barely took the lead over Ghiradelli in search interest in the U.S. this past week.

Google Trends graph showing the U.S. search interest in Godiva versus Ghiradelli chocolate, with Godiva taking the lead this past week.

Also in the U.S., Google Maps searches for flower shops spike nearly 120% leading up to February 14. And if you’re thinking about celebrating with a date night…maybe start planning early: In the U.S., February 13 marks the day people most use Google Maps to search for “romantic restaurants.”

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Go even greener this holiday season

by Michelle Budzyna on Dec.14, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

I’m always looking for ways to be more sustainable. And with the holidays in full swing, when many of us (✋) are particularly overindulgent, it’s a fitting time to start eco-friendlier traditions.

Here are a few ways you can embrace more green this holiday season, with help from Google.

Take the road less wasteful

Traveling for the holidays this year? It’s easy to find more sustainable ways to get where you’re going. Google Flights now shows estimated carbon emissions for every flight. And if you’re hitting the road, Google Maps lets you choose the most fuel-efficient driving route if it’s not already the fastest one. If you also need a place to crash (other than your parents’ house), a quick Google search for hotels will show you information about their sustainability efforts.

Gif showing a flight’s carbon emissions information from a list on Google Flights.

Look up estimated carbon emissions on Google Flights.

Save (your) energy

It’s tempting to keep the living room holiday lights on all night — not only because they’re festive, but so you can avoid the tangled wires to turn them off. If you connect them to your Google Nest or Home speaker or display using a compatible smart plug, you can easily turn them off with your voice, conserving energy for both you and the planet. You can also set up a Routine so they automatically turn on and off at a specific time every day. While you’re at it, save even more energy with a Home & Away Routine for your Nest thermostat to automatically adjust the heat at different points of the day, including when you’re out of the house.

Recycle the old, in with the new

After the holidays, many of us are faced with mountains of boxes, wrapping paper and, oh yes, a tree. You may also need to make space for new gifts — like the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro?

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This year, we searched for ways to stay healthy

by Hema Budaraju on Dec.08, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Every day, millions of people come to Google Search to ask important questions about their wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic drove even more concern for our health and the health of our loved ones – and this year, searches for ways to heal reached record highs. We saw questions about vaccinations, therapists, body positivity and mental wellbeing, to name a few. Today, we launched our annual Year in Search, which takes a look back at the top-trending searches of the year. Here’s a glimpse into some of the trending searches of 2021, a year we looked for ways to feel better and heal together.

Finding resources near me

Across the world, people searched for information on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The top trending "near me" queries in 2021 were "covid vaccine near me" and "covid testing near me.” To help people find credible, timely testing and vaccine information, we updated Google Search information panels, and worked with national and international partners to help people get vaccinated and tested.

Learning how to help

Helping ourselves and our communities was a priority for many of us. We asked questions about how to help others with anxiety and depression, and we also looked for help with our own mental wellbeing. Search interest for “therapists near me” hit record highs in 2021, and the phrase "why do I feel anxious for no reason" also hit an all-time high this year, spiking more than 400%. In addition to providing mental health resources and helplines, a quick Google Search also surfaces self-assessments to help you learn more about mental health topics like depression, anxiety, PTSD and postpartum depression.

Evaluating information effectively

Is it allergies or COVID? A sinus infection or COVID? Pfizer or Moderna? As many of us searched for health related information online, we wanted to know what we found was trustworthy. Connecting people with critical, timely and authoritative health information has been a crucial part of our role over the last year, and our team is constantly working to find ways to help people everywhere find credible and actionable information to help manage their health. To help people evaluate information online, we launched a new tool called About This Result, so you can learn more about the pages you see across a range of topics. About This Result helps people evaluate the credibility of sources, and decide which results are useful for them.

Search continues to be one of the first stops people make when making decisions, big and small, about their health — and so much more. To dive deeper into some of the other trending topics that defined 2021, visit yearinsearch.google/trends.

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Winter is coming: 9 ways to enjoy it with Google

by Molly on Dec.04, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

As a native Oregonian, I thought living in California would be an incredible break from the nine months of rain I’d endured growing up. What I didn’t realize was that 70-degree winters felt…wrong. Where were the mittens? The down jackets? The occasional snowy days? I’ve since moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve had a renewed appreciation for winter weather.

In fact, I enjoy the chilly months of the year so much, I’ve put together a few ways to make the most of the cold weather.

  1. I love snowshoeing, and I always want to find new trails. I use Google Maps to look for mountain biking and hiking trails that are covered in snow in the winter. (Just look for the hiking icons, or the light dash lines that indicate trails.) If I come across a good one, I label it on Maps so I know how to get back.
Animated GIF showing trails on Google Maps and how you can select and label them; this one is being saved to a list called “trails.”

2. I’m a year-round runner, but once the temperature dips below 50 Fahrenheit and the roads get wet or icy, I need new gear — all of which I can find in one place using Google Shopping. You can select the Sports & Outdoors tab to browse — and turn on the deals filter for discounts.

3. And when I’m returning from a chilly run, I can use the Google Home app to turn on my Nest Thermostat before I get home, so I know I’m not wasting energy while I’m out and the house will be toasty when I come in. I also use Home & Away Routines so that Nest knows when I’m out and can adjust my temperature automatically.

4. OK fine, there’s one downside of winter weather, and that’s how early it gets dark. I use Google Assistant to notify me an hour before sunset so I can get outside for some sunshine before the sun goes down.

5. We’ve started cutting down our own Christmas tree, which is actually pretty easy to do. A quick Google Search for cutting down a tree on federal land will help you find a map (and how you can purchase a permit). Then you can just use Google Maps to take you to the right area.

6. If I’m feeling really adventurous and ready to hit the slopes, I’ll check out the Explore tool on google.com/travel. I can set my home as the point of origin and then select “skiing” under the Interests filter and see what ski towns I can visit.

Animated GIF showing the United States on Google Maps. The arrow selects the “interests” tab and then “skiing” to surface ski towns in different parts of the country.

7. I love a good Google Alert to stay up to date on what’s going on locally. Once November rolls around, I set one for “Oregon winter festivals.”

8. Pixel cameras take incredible photos in dimly lit areas, so using Night Sight for shots of light displays or snowy nights is a no-brainer. And if you’ve already snagged a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, those photos will look even better: The new Pixel camera lets in 2.5 times as much light as the Pixel 5, and you can try out the new Motion Mode setting to capture an artsy falling snow pic.

9. Most winter nights, I make a real fire — but when I don’t feel like hauling in wood, there’s always a YouTube version, complete with crackle.

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Making healthcare options more accessible on Search

by Hema Budaraju on Dec.03, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Navigating the U.S. healthcare system can be quite challenging, so it’s no wonder three in four people turn to the internet first in their search for health information. By providing timely and authoritative health information, plus relevant resources and tools on Google Search, we’re always exploring ways to help people make more informed choices about their health. Here are a few new ways we’re helping.

New ways to find insurance information on Google

In the U.S., finding a doctor who accepts your health insurance is often a top priority. When searching for a specific provider, people can check which insurance networks that they might accept. And if they’re searching for a new provider overall, on mobile, they’re now able to filter providers nearby who accept Medicare — a health plan predominantly for people over the age of 65.

Mobile image showing Accepts Medicare filter on Healthcare Business Profiles.

How providers can keep patients up to date

To help people get connected to the care they need, we’re conducting checks to ensure details of local doctors are up to date, and giving all healthcare providers the ability to update their information by claiming and updating their Google Business Profile.

We continue to expand the features and tools that doctors can use to communicate about the services they offer. After claiming their profile, health professionals can edit and update information about their hours, services, and more.

Whether helping people find information to self-assess their symptoms for mental health conditions like depression or getting real time information of COVID-19 vaccine availability nearby, we continue to explore ways to connect people around the world to relevant and actionable information to better manage their health.

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Find food and give back with Google

by Philipp Schindler on Nov.19, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

In Google’s early days, around this time every year, a group of us would run to Costco and buy supplies to take to Bay Area food banks and pantries. It was a grassroots effort that was scrappy and meaningful — and it introduced a lot of Googlers to how rewarding giving back can be. It made me want to learn what more we could do to have an even bigger impact.

Inspired by our small and mighty food donation operation, I became a passionate supporter of Second Harvest Food Bank in Silicon Valley. And with guidance from food assistance experts, we established a dedicated team at Google in 2020 to work on tackling issues of food waste and food insecurity. Too many families are having to make difficult decisions no one should be forced to make: paying rent, bills, healthcare costs — or keeping food on their table. These challenges have only been compounded by the COVID-19 crisis, which has left more than 54 million working Americans struggling to find a meal. That’s nearly 16% of the country.

Google co-founder Larry Page once said "people are starving in the world not because we don't have enough food. It's because we're not yet organized to solve that problem." The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) reports that the world produces more than we need to feed every person on this planet. This isn’t a problem of supply, it’s a problem of distribution. And while solving this issue will require work from government, businesses, nonprofits and individuals working together, one way Google can help is to give people easy access to the information they need, when they need it.

Helping people find food pantries

When you look at Google Search trends, you can see that searches for "food bank" and “food pantry” spike during the month of November.

Food banks have always been critical to making sure people have regular access to nutritious food, but the ongoing pandemic has drastically increased their role as a crucial lifeline in so many communities. With the need for their services doubling or even tripling in some areas, we want to make sure that the people who need them most can find them.

That’s why we’ve launched a new initiative to expand the information about food banks and pantries in Google Search and Maps. We’ve augmented existing coverage with data from two initial nonprofit partners: WhyHunger and Hunger Free America, and we’ve added information to make sure people searching for food support can find what they need. These changes are being made directly in Google Maps so food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens can focus on what matters most — getting people food.

Still, some of these locations don’t yet have websites or phone numbers available on Google. So over the last two months, we've worked to update this information in Search and Maps, making 85,000 plus calls to verify local food banks and pantries. These efforts will continue through the holidays.

Mobile image showing Google Search results for the query “food pantry near me.”

We’ve also developed new Google Business Profile features specifically for food banks, pantries and soup kitchens. They can now provide details on their profile, like whether an appointment is needed, if there are eligibility requirements to receive food and what languages are spoken. They can also add information about their services, like whether prepared meals are available or if grocery delivery is an option. Additionally, pantries can specify whether they’re accepting new volunteers or soliciting food or monetary donations.

Helping people access benefits

Beyond working with food pantries, we’re also helping people use Search to find out how to get and use food assistance benefits.

Federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) feed more than 40 million Americans each year. We heard from users that information about these programs is often hard to find, especially for people who are using them for the first time. Today, if you search on Google for “SNAP benefits,” or the name of your local SNAP program, you’ll find direct links to each state’s eligibility guidelines and application process, including contact information for local food assistance agencies.

Mobile image showing Google Search results for the query “SNAP benefits,” with details about program eligibility and links to apply for local programs.

Once approved, many people use Electronic Benefits Transfer cards (also known as EBT) to pay for their groceries. Now, if you search for “grocery stores that accept EBT” you can easily find USDA-approved stores that accept this form of payment — saving time and potential confusion.

Supporting hunger relief organizations – and the communities they serve

I’m also proud to announce that we’re contributing financial support as well. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Googlers have stepped up – giving more than $22 million in personal donations and company-match to hunger relief organizations in the U.S. Today, Google is contributing an additional $2 million in support ($1 million in cash funding and $1 million in donated ads from Google.org) to 20 food banks, pantries and innovative hunger relief organizations across the country.

There is no easy solution to these large-scale challenges that face our communities, but I’m hopeful that increasing access to information about local food support programs and services can help. Our teams are hard at work and committed to building new tools and features that support economic recovery in the U.S. – and around the world – as we weather the COVID-19 crisis. And I personally am really looking forward to getting back to sorting and distributing food with my family at our local food bank.

You can make an impact by volunteering your time, making a donation, using your voice, or a combination of each — there are a number of ways we can all give back. If you need a place to start, you can donate to the largest national network of food banks, Feeding America. Or you can get involved locally: just search for your nearest food pantry on Google and contact them to see what they need. And if you know someone who might need food assistance, you can simply help by sharing resources. Spreading the word not only about what you’re doing to help, but why can make a huge difference.

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Foster meaningful conversations with customers on Google

by Anita Yuen on Nov.04, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Whether it’s searching for the perfect gift or looking for a contractor to remodel that bathtub, consumers are increasingly turning to calls and chat to interact with merchants. People want to communicate with businesses to help them make more informed decisions, and this trend is continuously accelerating. That’s why we’re introducing new features that’ll help business owners make the most of their interactions with customers on Google Search and Maps.

Learn more about the calls you receive from Google

People often value the immediacy and personal connection of a phone call, and we know this directly impacts merchants’ businesses. For example, Nedra Flansberg, the owner of Posh Brides and Grooms based in Carlsbad CA, told us that 50% of her customers come from Google. To help build connections between customers and millions of merchants like Nedra, we’re launching call history for all U.S. and Canadian merchants with verified Business Profiles. With call history, you can easily see which inbound customer calls came from your Business Profile and review helpful analytics on inbound call performance.

A cell phone showing a merchant’s call history

Quickly respond to customers on your Business Profile

Another valuable way consumers engage with merchants is by chatting with them. More and more people are turning to chat conversations with merchants of all sizes, ranging from small businesses to global merchants like Levi’s. With business messaging, Levi’s was able to resolve 30x more store related questions and saw a 31% increase in product related conversations. Merchants tell us they want to improve their interactions with customers, so we’re announcing a few new features to help them do just that.

Last year, we added functionality so you can chat with customers directly on Google Maps. Now, you can also see and respond to messages right from your Business Profile on Google Search.

A laptop showing messaging directly from Google Search

It's also helpful to know the recipient got your message on chat. With read receipts, both parties know whether their messages were seen. This feature is launching for all Business Profile merchants this month, further enriching the chat experience for customers and businesses.

A cell phone showing that a merchant’s sent message was read by the customer

As businesses prepare for another busy holiday season, and customers increasingly turn to calls and chat to interact with businesses, we look forward to helping foster even more meaningful interactions and giving merchants more tools to succeed.

Learn more about calls and chat on your Business Profile.

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Welcome to spooky season

by Jack O'Lantern on Oct.07, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, which means it’s about time to bust out the costumes, stock up on some candy and carve a pumpkin or two. If you need a little inspiration, look no further than these spooky Search and Maps trends we collected.

Pumpkin to Search about

Whether you plan on spending the day watching Halloween classics or trick-or-treating in a clever costume, we’ve got Search trends to give you some ideas. (Be sure to also check out our annual Frightgeist for the most-searched Halloween costumes across the U.S.)

Most-searched Halloween movies over the past week in the U.S.

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. Friday the 13th
  3. Hocus Pocus
  4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  5. Halloweentown

Already seen these? Grab the popcorn (or the candy corn) and virtually explore the filming locations of your favorite cult classics on Google Earth.

Moving on to costumes! Picking the right outfit — whether it’s just for you, a group or your furry friend — is important. Here are the costume searches that have been trending this week in the U.S.

Trending Halloween costumes:

  1. Squid Game
  2. Gorilla
  3. Britney Spears
  4. Carnage
  5. Venom

Trending couples costumes:

  1. Trixie and Timmy Turner
  2. Bonnie and Clyde
  3. Skid and Pump
  4. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  5. Cosmo and Wanda

Trending dog costumes:

  1. Squid Game
  2. Race car
  3. Vampire
  4. Donkey
  5. Lobster

If you still aren’t sure what to wear, you can ask Google Assistant for some last-minute costume ideas, too. Just say "Hey Google, what should I be for Halloween?”

Maybe you’d prefer to boo-rowse aisles IRL without a crowd. We checked the most popular times on Google Maps to visit costume shops across the U.S. and found they’re at their busiest on Saturday and Sunday around 2 p.m., and least busy before 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

But, beware! Last-minute shoppers might be in for a scare. Google Maps searches for costume stores in the U.S. peaked on Halloween day last year — nearly doubling from the week before, and nearly tripling from October 10th. So get your costume and accessory shopping done early for the best chance of finding what you’re looking for.

For those interested in refreshments or snacks to follow all that trick-or-treating, you can see which Halloween drinks are being searched for by state. And of course, everyone has to know what their state prefers: candy corn or M&Ms?

Map of the United States showing what the uniquely searched Halloween drinks trends are per state.
Map of the United States showing what the most searched Halloween candy is per state, with Candy Corn being the most searched in the majority of states.

What unlocks a haunted house? A spoo-key

Of course, Halloween isn’t only about get-togethers and candy — some of us enjoy a little scare. Head over to the Google Maps guide to Halloween and check out Local Guide Kimbra Kasch's favorite spooky spots. And Kimbra should know: She grew up in a haunted house in Portland, Oregon!

Google Maps’ guide also has plenty of other places to discover for the fall festivities, so be sure to take a look.

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