New Reason to Submit Businesses to Google Maps: Google Navigator and Personal Information Management Integration?

If you have a business where you want customers to visit in person, and you haven’t added and/or verified that business in Google Maps, you may want to consider doing so. You can do this regardless of whether you have a web site or not.

The Google Navigator system that Google has developed for mobile phones allows people to navigate to destinations in their cars, and even search for types of nearby businesses rather than specific businesses at specific addresses. So, if you want to find a nearby Thai restaurant, you can type in “Thai restaurant” and Google will either show you the nearest one it knows about, or provide a list of restaurants that you can choose from.

A new patent application from Google hints at even more features from such a navigation system that can associate information from your personal information management software into the Google navigation system, from programs such as contact lists, calendars, and task lists.

For instance, you set up a task list on your smart phone to visit a new client, and then pick up stamps and mail out letters, drop off drycleaning, and go grocery shopping. You’ve also added the new client’s address to your personal information system contact list and calendar.

You have your phone set up to use Google Navigator as a GPS system for your car. The navigation system shows you where your client’s office is located on the map you’re following, and also shows you icons for nearby post offices, drycleaning shops, and shopping centers.

While Google Navigator doesn’t presently display nearby places that might be of interest based upon things like your task list, it seems like something that might be a reasonable addition sometime in the future. Even if they don’t add these features, the ability for people to search for nearby businesses by type or category presents a compelling reason to make sure that your business listing is included and correct in Google Maps.

The patent filing is:

Geocoding Personal Information
Invented by Adam Bliss and David P. Conway
Assigned to Google
US Patent Application 20100106801
Published April 29, 2010
Filed: October 22, 2008

Abstract

A computer-implemented method for generating geocoded user information is disclosed. The method comprises searching user data across multiple different data corpuses for entries having location-related information and determining locations for the location-related information. The method further comprises generating a map showing a current location of a mobile device along with representations of the entries having location-related information, at the determined locations, for entries from the multiple different data corpuses.

This system could work with a PDA, Laptop and handheld phone as well as an in-vehicle navigation system.

The personal information management data integrated with this system could possibly be contained in:

a) Web applications such at Google calendar, Google Maps, Google Docs
b) programs located on a PDA, PC, Laptop, Mobile Phone, etc.

When terms are used in a task list such as “grocery,” “mail,” and “dry clean,” the system looking for locations that match those terms may perform searches for those specific terms as well as for synonyms such as “supermarket,” “post office,” and “laundry,” and may limit the results to a certain predefined radius from the user’s current location.

The patent filing tells us that contact information may be filtered to only show contacts of a certain type, such as close friends or family members, or that it might be expanded to include a larger number of contacts and possibly even extract contact information from a social networking application.

One possible alternative that could be included within a system like this would be to pair it with a recommendation system. For example, someone subscribes to a movie rental system which provides recommendations for movies similar to the ones rented or rated (or both) recently. If that person subscribes to receiving recommendations from that service, it’s possible that the system could geocode those recommendations to show movie rental stores or movie theatres where those recommended movies are available, or are showing. Other recommendation services featuring other kinds of products or services could also be included.

The patent application provides a fair amount of detail about how such a system would work, and it does seem to provide a compelling reason for more businesses with physical locations that people can visit to make sure that they are in Google Maps.

Imagine if you love visiting museums, shopping at antiques stores, and enjoy eating Ethiopian food. Add “Visit Museum,” “Buy antiques,” and “Find Ethiopian Restaurant” to a task list on your mobile phone, and under the system described in this patent filing, your navigation system should tell you when you’re driving near or past one or the other, and give you the chance to visit (and directions as well).

That is, as long as those places are listed in Google Maps.

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28 thoughts on “New Reason to Submit Businesses to Google Maps: Google Navigator and Personal Information Management Integration?”

  1. Everything is getting so intuitive and advanced it’s crazy to imagine how it will be even 5 yrs from now. Your maps listen to your tasklist, which listens to your FB friends, etc. etc.

    Now, if only they could figure out how to actually do my dry cleaning or pickup the groceries. That would be something!

    Great read Bill as always.

  2. Thank you, Cory.

    It’s interesting to see search applications like this one move away from the desktop and onto mobile applications where they can be used in different ways.

    One grocery store in my area does have lockers in their front lobby for pickups of online orders, and I’ve been thinking of testing the service out. Not quite picking the groceries up for me, but starting to get close…

  3. Hi Ramit,

    It does seem very helpful at least for every business that has a physical storefront or office that one can visit in person, or that provides services in specific geographic areas.

    I’m not sure how many business owners who don’t have web sites realize that they can add their business locations even though they don’t have sites. It would be great if Google, Yahoo, and Bing found a way to make more business owners aware of that.

  4. Google is surely ensuring they are the big players in local searches. Adding your business to google places ia MUST for every business.

  5. Good article about businesses on google maps, I’m sure it’ll be used more and more as people learn about it.

  6. Sounds like a natural progression of all this location based stuff.
    But will take a long time before it becomes viable as most offline business are not very technologically advanced.

  7. another great way to advertise businesses for free. though not really sure if this will work out for businesses within this year. but i guess they can all submit their locations to google maps and wait for it to become a trend. until then we can only say that it’s an advantage if results of revenues generated from having business locations on google maps are able to be tracked. Anyway, there’s no harm in submitting, since the service is for free but competition is expected to be real tight especially to locations that have several specific services offered.

  8. Hi Web Design Surrey,

    Thanks. Since Google Maps often appear in web searches, we know that business listings are seen by many millions of people each month,

    I wonder if Google would consider telling us how many businesses and other organizations are listed in Google Maps, and what percentage of those listings have been verified.

  9. Hi sedunia,

    I suspect that most business owners are probably capable of making sure their businesses are verified in Google Maps, if they can handle the day-to-day tasks involved in running a business.

  10. Hi Jason,

    Google Maps have been around for a few years now, and I’ve seen direct benefits of businesses being listed and ranking highly in Google Maps as far back as 2005.

  11. Google really are getting a bit of a strangle hold on the web, I doubt it will be long before the maps are integrated with GPS and Sat Nav, so their listings are showing up for even non internet users, or at least those who are not even in front of a PC at the time

  12. Will be making sure that my businesses would be on Google Maps. Will be telling this to my friends as well. Thanks for this information.

  13. This is another great way to control the SERPs. Even if you already come up on the first page for your search terms, you can get a 2nd listing in the top 10.

    @Steve, I was thinking doing the searches on a GPS enabled phone and then getting turn by turn directions to that “Thai restaurant”

  14. Great article Bill. Google is really advancing forward. Sooner or later, any enterprise, small or big, will dancing to Google’s terms. When will this be available for the public? Or is it already?

  15. One tip when adding a company to Google Maps / Claiming a Business as your own after finding it in Google maps is to utilise the keyword fields in the best way. You get 5 or 6 key phrases and one of these needs to be generic but the others can be anything. Make sure you add phrases that will bring up a Google Map in the SERPs take our business the phrase “web design hertfordshire” doesn’t yield a local search map but if you type in “Web designer in Hertfordshire” presto! map and if you’ve done your job right you should list, especially for less popular phrases.

  16. @dominicthegreat: nowadays every business has to make sure it’s dancing on Google’s term. It’s crazy how Google is developing and I cannot imagine a website performing well without Google’s help.

    Concerning submitting to Google Maps, this is definitely something every business has to do, especially since the implementation of Google Navigator and PIMI as the article emphasizes it well.

  17. Hi Steve,

    The Google Navigator application allows searches by business type already, so non-PC users can already get a taste of something close to this. It’s the personal information manager aspect (task lists, contacts, etc.) that haven’t been developed yet (at least not that we know of).

  18. Hi Mike,

    If you’re fortunate enough to get a map listing for your business in regular search results, it can potentially lead to more calls and visits to your business

  19. Hi dominicthegreat,

    The integration with task lists, contacts, and calendar programs isn’t available as far as I’ve seen, but it seems like something that would be worth developing, so hopefully Google will bring it out.

  20. Hi Jack,

    The PIM aspect of this patent filing hasn’t been released, but even without it, Google allowing people to search by business type through Google Navigator is another pretty good reason to make sure that you verify your business listing.

  21. Gotta love Google. I actually got rid of my GPS recently because I simply use my Blackberry in combination with Google to pull up maps, phone numbers and other info on destinations I need to go.

    What’s even more helpful is that I always seem to have service compared to the GPS dropping out because of a storm or from trees.

    I love what Google is doing with local searches. Just helped a buddy get their business listed and now showing up perfectly for their bakery, no more fiddling around with trying to rank for keywords, just shows up.

  22. Hi Murlu,

    My father offered me his old GPS not too long ago, and while I thanked him for the offer, I ended up turning him down.

    I’ll probably pick up an Android based phone sometime in the near future so that I can use, amongst its other features, the navigation system Google has developed that is tied into Google Maps.

  23. I love how Google was able to develop this system that integrates maps into GPS phones. It is just very helpful esp if you love to travel to new places. It makes it easier to track down museums, shops, restaurants and cafes, and attractions in a particular location. No more need for maps and directories because the information is already provided. That is why businesses should take advantage of this one. More and more people are using Google Maps to locate different places and if your business is on top of the search results, you are sure to get more customers in.

  24. Hi Fedhz,

    As you note, there is a lot of value in making it more likely that your business or organization can be found on the Web.

    What I find pretty interesting about this is that Google is finding ways to combine the features that they offer in interesting ways. Google Maps is transforming from a directory of businesses and business locations, as well as a place to find directions, to a tool that can help you as you travel to those locations. It’s as helpful on your mobile phone as it is on your desktop at home.

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