My Google Map Blog

Tag: search

How we’re helping get vaccines to more people

by Sundar Pichai on Jan.25, 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 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on communities worldwide. While there is much uncertainty still ahead, the development of multiple safe vaccines in such a short time gives us reason for hope. Now the work begins to ensure that everyone can benefit from this triumph of scientific achievement, and quickly.


During the pandemic, Google has helped people get the information they need to keep their families safe and healthy. We’ve supported small businesses and partnered with Apple to build exposure notification technology to fight the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Now, as public health authorities ramp up vaccination efforts, we’re finding more ways to help. 


We recognize that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we’re committed to doing our part. Today we’re announcing that we’re providing more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable distribution and making it easier to find locally relevant information, including when and where to get the vaccine. We’ll also be opening up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites as needed. 

$150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable access 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve helped more than 100 government agencies and global non-governmental organizations run critical public service health announcements through our Ad Grants Crisis Relief program. Today, we’re announcing an additional $100 million in ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits around the globe. We’ll invest another $50 million in partnership with public health agencies to reach underserved communities with vaccine-related content and information.


Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines. Early data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of color and those in rural communities, aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups. To help, Google.org has committed $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations, including Morehouse School of Medicine’sSatcher Health Leadership Institute and the CDC Foundation.

Highlighting authoritative information and local vaccination sites on Search & Maps

To help find accurate and timely information on vaccines, we’ve expanded our information panels on Search to more than 40 countries and dozens of languages, with more rolling out in the coming week. We’ll begin showing state and regional distribution information on Search so people can easily find when they are eligible to receive a vaccine. Soon we’ll launch a “Get The Facts'' initiative across Google and YouTube to get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines. 


Searches for “vaccines near me” have increased 5x since the beginning of the year and we want to make sure we’re providing locally relevant answers. In the coming weeks, COVID-19 vaccination locations will be available in Google Search and Maps, starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with more states and countries to come. We’ll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through. We’re working with partners like VaccineFinder.org, an initiative of Boston Children's Hospital, and other authoritative sources, such as government agencies and retail pharmacies, to gather vaccination location information and make it available.


Two phones displaying the locations of vaccination sites in Search and Maps results

Search and Maps will soon show vaccination sites with important details

Opening our spaces for vaccination clinics 

To help with vaccination efforts, starting in the United States, we’ll make select Google facilities—such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces—available as needed. These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines. We’ll start by partnering with health care provider One Medicaland public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally. We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability. 

Using our technology to improve vaccine distribution 

Google Cloud is helping healthcare organizations, retail pharmacies, logistics companies, and public sector institutions make use of innovative technologies to speed up delivery of vaccines. For example, logistics companies are using our AI to optimize trucking operations by adapting to traffic or inclement weather, and detect temperature fluctuations during transport. Once vaccines reach their destination, our tools help facilitate pre-screening, scheduling, and follow up. And our Intelligent Vaccine Impact Platform is helping states like New York and North Carolina manage distribution and forecast where vaccines, personal protective equipment, and hospital staffing will be most needed.


The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world. It’s also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale. We can’t slow down now. Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes. Google will continue to support in whatever way we can.

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How location helps provide more relevant search results

by Danny Sullivan on Dec.17, 2020, 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

There are many factors that play a role in providing helpful results when you search for something on Google. These factors help us rank or order results and can include the words of your query, the relevance or usability of web pages in our index, and the expertise of sources.

Location is another important factor to provide relevant Search results. It helps you find the nearest coffee shop when you need a pick-me-up, traffic predictions along your route, and even important emergency information for your area. In this post, we’ll share details about the vital role that location plays in generating great search results.

Finding businesses and services in your community

It’s a Friday night. You’re hungry and want some pizza delivered. If Google couldn’t consider location in search ranking, our results might display random pizza restaurants that are nowhere near you. With location information, we can better ensure you’re getting webpages and business listings about pizza places that are local and relevant to you.

The same is true for many types of businesses and services with physical locations, such as banks, post offices, restaurants or stores. Consider two people who search for zoos—one in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Mobile, Alabama. Location information helps both get the right local information that they need:

Searches for "zoos" in Omaha, Nebraska and Mobile, Alabama

Same query, different local contexts

Location can matter even when you’re searching for something that doesn’t necessarily have a physical location. For example, a search for “air quality” in San Diego, California versus Tulsa, Oklahoma might lead you to pages with local information relevant to each area.

Searches for “air quality” in San Diego, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma

Similarly, certain information in Search can be more useful if it’s specific to your city or neighborhood. If you were to search Google for “parking information,” you might see information about municipal codes and parking enforcement for your local area that would differ from what someone else might see in another city. 

Local information in search results can also be helpful in an emergency. If you search for “hurricane,” our Crisis Response features can show you local shelter information if there’s a hurricane close by, rather than just generic information about what a hurricane is.

Of course, just because some searches have local results, it’s not the case that everyone gets completely different results just because they are in different cities (or even different countries). If a search topic has no local aspect to it, there won’t be local results shown. If there is, we’ll show a mix of local results that are relevant to particular places along with non-local results that are generally useful.

How location works at Google

You might be wondering how location works at Google. Google determines location from a few different sources, and then uses this information to deliver more relevant experiences when it will be more helpful for people. Learn more about the different ways we may understand location in the video below as well as how to manage your data in a way that works best for you on our help center page about location and Search

Location is a critical part of how Google is able to deliver the most relevant and helpful search results possible—whether you need emergency information in a snap, or just some late-night pizza delivered. For more under-the-hood information, check out our How Search Works series. 

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Prepare for medical visits with help from Google and AHRQ

by Dave Greenwood on Dec.03, 2020, 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

When patients prepare for a medical visit, they're more likely to have a high quality, efficient encounter and better physical and mental health outcomes. Starting today, we’re piloting a new tool that helps people prepare for visits by surfacing common questions they may have about their care--available when people find a local doctor’s office or hospital on Search. 

Built in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, our tool helps people build a visit plan by selecting from evidence-based questions like, “What is this test for?” as well as adding their own questions. When they’re finished, they can print or email the visit plan and bring it to the doctor’s office to help them remember important questions they want to ask. The visit plan also includes a reminder of things patients should bring to the visit, like a list of current medications, recent lab results, and their insurance card. The tool is private and secure: Google does not store any of the information.

Example of search for a gynecologist

Ten questions for more engaged care

The suggested questions, developed by AHRQ as part of its “Questions are the Answer” initiative, are designed to get people thinking about their goals and priorities for the visit. They’re based on findings from dozens of patient safety research projects as well as AHRQ’s expertise on diagnostic testing and results, medication safety, safe transitions between care settings, and the importance of patient and family engagement in healthcare.

“Patients who prepare for medical visits by prioritizing their questions, strengthen their role as members of their own health care team,” said Jeffrey Brady, M.D., M.P.H., a preventive medicine physician and Director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the AHRQ. Dr. Brady added, “This helps clinicians maximize their time with patients so they can better address their most critical health needs. Clinicians appreciate that healthcare can be more efficient, effective, and higher quality when they work together with patients.”

3 steps for planning an upcoming visit

Protecting health information 

People come to Google for health-related information every day, and we’re committed to helping them get the information they need along their healthcare journey. The tool does not gather any personal health information or store any of the information that is entered into the tool. People have the option to print or email their visit plan, and people can use this tool without signing into a Google account. This tool is in a pilot phase and is currently available to a limited number of people in the United States and will expand to more users over time. 

Healthcare can be confusing and overwhelming, but simply thinking about goals before meeting with a clinician can have a huge impact on patient experience and health outcomes. With the visit planning tool, we hope more people will effectively plan for medical visits, get more out of their visits and ultimately achieve better health outcomes.

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New ways to connect with and understand your customers

by Aditya Tendulkar on Dec.03, 2020, 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

When people look for information online, they want to find the answers to their questions quickly. This is especially true for people browsing nearby businesses. Business Profiles help merchants share information like how late you’re open and what safety measures are in place. But sometimes people are looking for answers to more niche questions such as: “Do you make gluten-free cakes?” or “Is there covered parking?”

To help you quickly answer these questions and connect with the people who are interested in your business, we’re bringing messaging capabilities and customer insights directly to you on Google Maps and Search.

Messaging with customers just got easier

Earlier this year, we made it easier for you to update your Business Profile directly from the Google products you’re already using—Maps and Search. Now, you can access even more features from these products so that you can engage with customers and update your business information from the same place.

Starting today, we’re rolling out the ability for verified businesses to message with customers directly from the Google Maps app. Once you turn messaging on from your Business Profile, you can start replying to customers on Google Maps from the business messages section in the “Updates” tab. And soon you'll also be able to see your messages right from Google Search (via the Customers menu on your Business Profile) and message customers directly from your computer.

If your business uses a messaging partner, you can sign up to access the Business Messages API and take a look at our developer guide.

Merchant Messaging Google Maps App

You can now respond to customer messages straight from the Google Maps app

As more people try to make more informed decisions before leaving the house, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of messages sent to businesses. Since the beginning of this year, people have initiated more than twice as many messages to merchants right from Business Profiles on Search and Maps.

To make it even easier for customers to get the information they want from businesses, we’re adding more ways for people to initiate messages with you. In addition to clicking on the “Message” button on your Business Profile, customers can now start a conversation from any post you create. And if they try calling and you don’t answer, they will be prompted to send a message.

merchant message

Customers can now message you directly from any posts you create

Learn more about your business with updated performance insights 

This summer, we rolled out updated performance insights on Search and Maps that give you a detailed report of your customer interactions. The report includes the total number of interactions over a period of time and a breakdown of calls and messages initiated from customers on Google. Metrics are provided on a monthly basis and can be compared to the same period from the previous year.

Starting this month, we’re rolling out more metrics to give you a deeper understanding of how customers discover your Business Profile. Soon you’ll see a more detailed list of the search queries customers used to find your business on Google. At the beginning of next year, you’ll see updates to the performance page that show whether customers saw your business via Google Maps or Search and if they saw it from a computer or mobile device. All your performance data will be available for up to six months. Dig into the numbers to see how your business is performing over time and how your Business Profile resonates with customers.

Performance Insights

New performance metrics on Search and Maps show the key phrases people use to see your Business Profile

We’ve continued to invest in new ways to make it easier for you to bolster your presence on Google. With these updated features, we hope you have more of the tools and information you need to connect with customers and grow your business in today’s ever-changing environment.

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Spruce up your Business Profile for holiday shoppers

by Rajas Moonka on Dec.02, 2020, 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 holidays can be the most hectic—and the most important—time of the year for business owners. And this year shoppers are flocking to online shopping and curbside pickups. To make the most of this season and connect with shoppers wherever they are, we have a recipe for holiday success. Here’s a list you’ll want to check twice: 

1. Deck the halls of your Business Profile: First things first, claim your free Business Profile to put your best face forward on Google Maps and Search. Make sure your Business Profile is updated with helpful information about your store—like updated hours, a description and photos, shopping options, and all the safety measures you’re taking during the pandemic. Pro tip: Double check if your phone number is correct and turn on messaging so you can quickly connect with customers who have questions.

2. Share the gift of updated in-store inventory (online!): Unsurprisingly, 77 percent of holiday shoppers in the U.S. said they will browse for gift ideas online this year instead of in-store. Thanks to Pointy from Google, you can easily show your products online so shoppers can see what you carry before they head to the store to make a purchase. Pointy connects to your point-of-sale system and automatically adds your in-store products to your Business Profile on Google. This helps you to appear in search results when shoppers are looking for items you carry.

Pointy

Pointy from Google automatically adds your inventory to your Business Profile and can help shoppers find you when they search for items you carry

3. Help them order ahead, still tucked in their beds: Searches for “curbside pickup” have grown more than 3,000 percentglobally since last year. Let customers know how they can shop with you—whether you’re offering curbside pickup, in-store pickup or delivery options.

4. Oh, what fun it is to buy online for pickup and delivery:Add ordering link(s) for pickup or delivery to your profile. If you’re a verified retail merchant in the U.S., you can now add a link to your online store directly to your Business Profile on Google. This helps shoppers easily place a pickup or delivery order from you with a few simple taps!

Pickup and delivery

 If you’re a verified business in the U.S., you can add a link to your online store so customers can easily place pickup and delivery orders

5. 'Tis the season to share more about your business: Shoppers are looking to purchase from  local businesses that they feel good about supporting. Spruce up your Business Profile and connect with your community by showing whether you’re LGBTQ-friendly or women-led, or in the U.S. and identify as Black-owned or veteran-led.

Black-owned

Share more about your business by adding attributes to your Business Profile.

For more ways to deck out your Google presence, check out Grow with Google’s Quick Help YouTube videos. The short videos will help answer a variety of small business questions, from how to make the most of digital tools to how to start a live stream. We know the holiday season can be overwhelming, but with this checklist in hand there will be no need to get your tinsel in a tangle. 


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An update on our efforts to help Americans navigate COVID-19

by Ruth Porat on Oct.27, 2020, 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 COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and emphasized how important it is for each of us to do our part to help find solutions. I’m sharing an update here on how Google is contributing to keep people safe and helping to get American businesses back up and running.

Contributing to economic recovery efforts

As I’ve written earlier, to help small businesses gain easier access to badly-needed capital, we founded the $170 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund alongside $10 million in Google.org grants, with an aim to help the most underserved small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities. In collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network, more than $53 million dollars of loans and Google.org grants have been allocated to community partners who are focused on serving rural, women, Black, Latino and Native borrowers, which helps American communities start to get back on their feet. Tires by Papi and Bailiwick Clothing Company are two such examples.


Of course, our greatest contribution continues to be developing products to help people stay informed, adapt and get through this pandemic. 

According to the Connected Commerce Council, nearly one in three small business owners report that without digital tools they would close all or parts of their business. To help small businesses, we rolled out many new, free product features earlier this year, so that they can inform their customers about things like takeout, delivery, no-contact delivery, or curbside pickup. Today, people can now find this information on Search and Maps for more than 2 million restaurants and retailers in the U.S.


Using Search and Maps, you can find information about businesses.

We’ve used Google’s Duplex technology to make calls to businesses and confirm things like temporary closures. This has enabled us to make 3 million updates to business information globally, which have been seen by people over 20 billion times in Search and Maps. 


To help people searching for jobs, we have stepped up to help in many ways. We added new relevant features in the U.S. like showing jobs that can be done remotely. Google Cloud has partnered with different states to help jobseekers: we assisted Rhode Island’s Virtual Career Center, a new platform that  connects thousands of jobseekers with jobs and employment services; worked with the State of Illinois to develop a 24/7 Virtual Intelligent Agent on the IDES website; developed a chatbot, in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Innovation to provide real-time answers to the 20 most popular unemployment questions. These are just some of the examples. 


We also transformed our free Grow with Google training to virtual formats and have already trained more than 1 million Americans on digital skills this year. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate—which takes beginner learners to entry-level jobs ready in under six months—has become the most popular certificate on Coursera during COVID-19.

Grow with Google digital skills training

Providing trusted information

Questions related to the pandemic are more searched than sports or music (and even elections) in every state. 

Top coronavirus related searches in the U.S. this month:

  1. Coronavirus symptoms

  2. Coronavirus update

  3. Coronavirus vaccine

Across the U.S. people are searching on Google to stay informed and adapt. In 47 states, the top coronavirus-related question during the last six months has been “How many cases of coronavirus in [my state].” Search interest for “online courses” reached an all-time high in April this year, as did searches for “unemployment,”compared to search trends over the last 15 years. 


During this time, we’ve also seen people seek out information to help them navigate their daily lives. For example, since the pandemic began, searches for “curbside pickup” have increased 13-fold compared to this time last year, while searches for “contact tracing” spiked 1,000 percent  in April and then reached an all-time high in May. 


In March, we launched Search Knowledge Panels so when people search for information related to COVID-19, they immediately see local guidance, information about symptoms, prevention and treatments. We’ve committed $250 million in Ad Grants to help government agencies provide critical information related to COVID-19. As of today we’ve served more than 100 million PSAs from local public health agencies, which have been seen by tens of millions of people across the U.S.


We also launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency funding for small and medium sized news organizations covering the pandemic. To date, we’ve distributed $9 million to U.S. newsrooms across all 50 states. 

Helping people make safe choices 

To help people make informed decisions about where to go, the COVID layer in Google Maps shows critical information about new cases in an area and how they’re trending. As of this month, our COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which are used by public health agencies and researchers around the globe, have been downloaded more than 16 million times. 

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. Designed specifically and carefully to protect users’ privacy while helping public health authorities and governments manage countries’ re-opening, today 13 states and U.S. territories have built apps based on this ENS technology.

In a short time, COVID-19 has changed how people live their lives. We’ll continue to update our products and roll out initiatives to help people and American businesses find trusted information, adapt and manage economic uncertainty.  

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Mapping wildfires with the power of satellite data

by Yossi Matias on Aug.20, 2020, 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

Ten years ago, I was inside the Google office in Haifa, Israel when the devastating Carmel Mountain fire started blazing not far from us. The team started searching the web to learn more. And while we did find some details confirming what we already knew—a large fire was taking place outside of our door—we experienced a potentially life-impacting information gap. 

This kick-started our journey to build features in Google Search and other products that connect people with high-quality information during crises. A few hours after I took the photo below, we quickly launched a small feature in Search that made it easier for people to find the emergency hotline for the Carmel Mountain fire. Since then, we’ve continued to evolve and expand off this initial launch into the SOS alerts we launched in 2017.

Carmel Mountain Fire.jpg

Carmel Mountain Fire - Photo from Google Office in Haifa, Israel

Connecting people to critical information during active wildfires

Today we’re launching a new wildfire boundary map in Search and Maps SOS alerts in the U.S. to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire. In moments like a growing wildfire, knowing exactly where a blaze is underway and how to avoid it is critical. Using satellite data to create a wildfire boundary map, people will now see the approximate size and location right on their phone or desktop. 

When people look for a specific fire like "Pine Gulch fire" or “Apple fire” in Search, they will be able to see a wildfire’s approximate boundary of the fire, name and location, as well as news articles and helpful resources from local emergency agencies in the SOS alert. 

On Google Maps, people will have access to the same details, including the fire boundary, and receive warnings if they’re approaching an active blaze. If someone is exploring an area near a wildfire on Google Maps, they’ll get an ambient alert that will point them to the latest information.


Related: Natural disaster safety tips: a Q&A with the Red Cross

How we map fires to help keep people safe 

With satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES constellation of satellites and Google Earth Engine’s data analysis capabilities, we’re now able to show the size of a wildfire in near real time, with data being refreshed roughly every hour. NOAA’s satellites include infrared and optical sensors optimized for detecting “hot spots” or large wildfires on the Earth’s surface. We run computations on this data in Earth Engine to identify the affected area.
GOES Apple Fire Time Lapse.gif

Image series showing smoke from the recent Apple Fire in California, captured by GOES-17 satellite.

From there, we create a digital polygon—the red boundary shown on the map in Search and Google Maps—that represents the approximate wildfire impact area. If multiple large fires are active in the same region, people may see several polygons. You can learn more about how we gather, analyze and visualize wildfire data from satellites on our Medium blog.

Wildfire Detection Animation.gif

Using data from NOAA's GOES satellites and Google Earth Engine, we create a digital polygon to represent the approximate wildfire impact area on Search and Google Maps.

Putting this information to work 

This year the National Interagency Fire Center has predicted above normal fire risks for several areas across the U.S. Already, firefighters have confronted large blazes across Northern and Southern California, as well as the Grizzly Creek Fire in Colorado, which led to evacuations and burned thousands of acres. In these situations, having high-quality information at your fingertips matters.

For example, in the recent Apple, Pine Gulch, and Grizzly fires, we quickly identified that the wildfires were rapidly expanding, and dry conditions exacerbated the fire, putting thousands of people at risk. We were able to launch our SOS alerts, with the latest boundary map, on Search and Google Maps.

Wildfire_Mobile.gif


Last year, we piloted this feature in Search for major California wildfires to confirm it was a useful tool for first responders, emergency management personnel and the community. We collaborated with organizations, like the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management, to gather expert recommendations on wildfire preparedness and response. Their feedback throughout our 2019 pilot helped identify what information is most useful during emergency situations.

Google has been involved in crisis response for many years, starting with the Carmel Mountain Fire in Israel in 2010. Since then, we've initiated Public and SOS alerts for hundreds of thousands of crises around the world. From wildfire mapping, to earthquake detection and alerts to flood forecasting, we continue to find new ways for technology to be helpful at the most critical times.

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Update your Business Profile on Google Maps and Search

by Tom Pritchard on Aug.13, 2020, 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

When it comes to your business’s online presence, putting your best foot forward matters. And with more than 15 million edits made to Business Profiles each month, we know how important it is to quickly make changes so your business information on Google is engaging and up to date—from adding a phone number to sharing COVID-19 safety requirements with customers.

Today, we’re making it easier to update your Business Profile directly from Google products you already use. Now you can create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information right from Google Search and Maps.

To start, make sure you are signed in with the Google account used to verify your business. On Google Maps, simply tap your profile picture on the top right corner of the mobile app and select “Your Business Profile” to access these tools. On Google Search, you can look up your business by name or search for “my business” to update your profile. The “my business” functionality is currently available in English and will expand to other languages over the coming months.

In-line imagery - Service - Mobile + Desktop.jpg

Update your Business Profile and engage with customers directly from Search and Maps

We’re also rolling out more free tools on Google Maps and Search that will help you understand how your business is performing and how you can enhance your online presence. Business owners and managers will see a revamped performance page with new customer interaction insights. This page will provide refreshed metrics on a monthly basis, and will evolve over the coming months to share more helpful data to business owners. All of these features will be available on an upgraded merchant interface that will offer helpful recommendations about how you can improve your Google presence—whether it’s adding information to your Business Profile, responding to recent customer reviews, or using Google Ads to help your business stand out.

Business owners can also continue to use the Google My Business website and mobile app to update business information and connect with customers. If you’re a business owner who has not yet verified your listing, learn more about how to do that here.

As more business owners rely on digital tools to connect with customers and keep business operations running, we'll continue to update our offerings to be as helpful as possible. Creating more convenient ways to update your Business Profile and keep tabs on your online presence are just some of the ways we’re doing this.

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Now sending: Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

by Jake Mintz on Jun.26, 2020, 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

People develop loyalty to the brands that make it easy to purchase products and services and connect with their customer support. Google has built digital tools to help brands do this, including the ability to message customers through Google Maps and Search, via Google My Business. Messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers that twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year.

Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly with their customer service platforms. Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS. To improve connections with customers, we’ve recently introduced new smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. There’s also a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent, so that it's not disruptive when the customer messages a business.

Several organizations, including Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to make customer care more effective and efficient, particularly during COVID-19. Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket, allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier. In just a few messages, Walmart lets customers quickly find up-to-date information about store hours, pick-up and delivery options, precautions and more. And MyGov, with partner Amplify.ai, is providing help and answering live questions from Indian citizens about hours, COVID-19 helplines, and ways to volunteer and donate, for more than 11,000 food and night shelters across India.

A number of brands are using Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions along the way. Mattress Firm, with messaging partner Podium, is successfully selling mattresses directly through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even while stores were closed due to COVID-19. DISH, with partner [24]7.ai, has seen a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Business Messages features compared to other messaging channels.

As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.

Business Messages is currently available in English, with expanded coverage to other languages launching soon. Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation. We also have partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers. Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business

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Google’s new tools help businesses during COVID-19

by Jen Fitzpatrick on May.27, 2020, 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

Running a business requires a whole lot of ingenuity and perseverance. It’s those same qualities that are helping local businesses adapt, and even thrive, in today’s new normal. To adjust, business owners are increasingly turning to digital tools. According to a newly released report by the Connected Commerce Council, nearly one in three small business owners said that without digital tools they would have had to close all or parts of their business.

We’ve rolled out new features to help businesses get the support they need, adapt their operations, and quickly update customers about their latest changes.

Let people know how they can help 

We’ve seen firsthand in Google Search and Maps the impact that COVID-19 has had on small businesses and how they connect with their customers. People across the world are looking for ways to continue supporting corner bookstores, local watering holes, beloved dance studios and other businesses that give their neighborhoods character—even if it’s from a distance. 

To help local businesses share how their communities can support them during COVID-19, we recently began allowing merchants in six countries to add support links for donations and gift cards to their Business Profiles on Google. Starting today, we’re rolling support links out to merchants in an additional 18 countries such as Italy, Spain and Japan. We’ve partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations. For gift cards, merchants can link directly to the relevant page on their website or to their gift card offerings with one of our eligible partners, which includes Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.

People around the world are looking to help—with global search interest in "how to help small businesses" reaching an all-time high in March 2020, increasing more than 700 percent since February. To help connect them with nearby businesses in need, we’ve made it possible for people to look up their favorite local businesses by name to see if they’ve added donation or gift card links to their Business Profile. And in the coming weeks, people will also be able to use Search and Maps to find all of the nearby businesses that are asking for support. 

Support Links Search

People can now look up their favorite local businesses to see if they have donation or gift card links on their Business Profile

Transition to online services with ease 

Merchants who normally provided in-person services are now pivoting to connect with their customers virtually—from yoga studios offering online classes to salons hosting virtual hair styling classes. We’re making it easier for customers to discover online classes and book virtual appointments with these new features:

  • Get discovered:Merchants who are verified on Google My Business will soon be able to add attributes like “online classes,” “online appointments,” or “online estimates” to their Business Profiles to let people know how they’re operating. Today merchants can add one of these attributes using Google My Business, and in the coming weeks it’ll be visible on merchants’ Business Profiles in Search and Maps. 

  • Online service bookings directly on Google:We’re expanding Reserve with Google to help merchants offer easy appointment bookings for online services so customers can quickly find available times, book a slot, and add it to their Google Calendar—all directly from a merchant’s Business Profile. Millions of people have already booked in-person appointments with salons, restaurants and other businesses thanks to integrations from over 100 Reserve with Google partners. We’re now expanding this to include bookings for online services, starting with partners like Booksy, Regis, WellnessLiving, and Zooty. Merchants working with one of these partners can offer online bookings directly on Google and share details with customers about how to pay and join the meeting using their preferred video platform.

Online Class Booking

 Merchants can offer easy appointment bookings for online services. 

Keep everyone in the know with the latest business information

Sometimes it’s not as simple as “open” and “closed.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve added new tools to help merchants keep customers informed about how and when they’re operating. 

Across all business verticals, we launched the ability to mark their business as temporarily closed, as well as reopen when they’re ready to open their doors. We also added secondary hours and COVID-19 posts so merchants can communicate important information about their operations directly in Google Search and Maps. Since March, we’ve seen more than 1 million businesses share COVID-19 posts, with millions of clicks to merchants’ websites every week as consumers look for more information.

With many people unable to enjoy meals inside their favorite restaurants, demand for food delivery and takeout has skyrocketed. In response, we’ve added more third-party ordering providers, so people everywhere can order delivery and takeout from an additional 25,000 restaurants directly on Google. To give merchants even more control, we’ll soon be making it easier for food merchants to indicate their preferred online ordering partners on their Business Profiles. 

Today people are deciding where to grab food not only based on the menu, but also on how easy it is to pick up safely. We added attributes like “curbside pickup,” “no contact delivery,” and “dine-in” so that restaurants could easily share these important details on their Business Profiles in Search and Maps. Since March, more than 3 million restaurants have added or edited their dining attributes. Some restaurateurs are even ditching dining areas for good. To support all types of food merchants, virtual kitchens can now verify their businesses on Google My Business. 

We know that every day during this pandemic can be drastically different—and for small business owners, there can be a lot of uncertainty. While we can’t control what each day looks like, our goal is to continue helping businesses communicate the latest with consumers across the world. 

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