Google launches new tool to let U.S. businesses create Google Offers for Maps

Google announced today on its Google Commerce blog that it’s rolling out a new tool that will allow any business in the U.S. to create a Google Offer and display the promotions or coupons to user directly through Google Maps. Google first announced back in July that it was rolling out Google Offers to user searching for places on Google Maps for iOS and Android and on the across the web, but at the time only announced select retail partners. With Google’s updated tool rolling out over the next week all business in the U.S. can now easily create Offers that are displayed on Google Maps:

With this launch, your offer can reach customers on Google Maps when they are searching for places nearby or looking for local businesses like yours. Your business will be prominently displayed with a blue tag icon next to it, alerting customers to your offer.

Once a customer saves your offer, we’ll bring them to your door by sharing an offer reminder when they are near your store. We can help remind them when your offer is expiring too, through email and mobile alerts. Just create the offer; we’ll take care of the rest.

Google notes that businesses will “only pay when a customer saves your offer, and you keep the full value of the sales you make.” You can learn more on the Google Commerce blog here.

Foursquare opens up local ads to all small businesses

Foursquare is squarely moving into Google’s territory with the announcement today that it is officially opening up its local ad platform to all of the 1.5 million claimed businesses in the app. That means that no longer will only a select group of partners be able to offer “Promoted” listings within the app– something Foursquare has been testing in recent months– but now all small businesses will have the opportunity to place local ads.

The benefit over, say, Google’s ads platform for local businesses, is the ability for merchants to actually see if their ad leads to a real customer walking into their store:

Today, we’re opening Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world. We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store. We built this to be simple and flexible, learning from our four years of data and relationships with over 1.5 million claimed businesses. Any merchant can monitor how many people have viewed their ad, how many have tapped on it, and how many actually came into their store. Merchants know what they’re paying for – real actions and real customers.

Business owners interested in creating ads on Foursquare can do so at foursquare.com/adsRead more

Google Maps adds directions for multiple destinations, upcoming events, & flight, hotel & restaurant reservations

Google announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s rolling out a few new features for the new Google Maps preview based on feedback from users. Perhaps the most notable of the new features is the ability to get directions for routes with multiple destinations:

Whether you’re running weekend errands or planning a cross-country tour, you can plot multiple destinations for your trip with ease – now available for driving, walking and biking directions. Once you’ve chosen a starting point, click ‘+’ and add stops to your route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map… When you’re exploring a new city, find the best way to museums, historic squares, and other attractions by dragging and dropping your destinations in the order that works for you. And if you’re curious before you go, the Views carousel, located in the bottom right corner, is a great way to preview Street View, Photo Tours, and other imagery.

The update also brings flight, hotel and restaurant reservation data right into search within Maps much the same way that Google Search displays similar results from Gmail, Google Calendar and elsewhere. In addition, Maps will now being showing upcoming events: Read more

Google’s Street View fun continues with virtual visits to zoos & animal parks

panda

Google’s expanded Street View program today added coverage of a range of zoos and animal parks in North America, South America, Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and the UK. This includes the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, home to more than 30 percent of the world’s Giant Pandas, reports the Google Maps blog.

If you enjoy watching wildlife, but find yourself stuck in the urban jungle, never fear. You can now use Google Maps and Street View to preview the must-see spots at zoos around the world before heading there in person, or take a virtual trip to some of the most famous zoos and animal parks, right from your living room.

The development adds to a diverse range of fascinating Street View tours offered by Google in recent times …  Read more

Google adds Waze’s real-time incident reporting to Maps on iOS & Android, integrates search/StreetView into Waze apps

Real-time-waze-reporting-google-mapsGoogle announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s finally tapping into the talent and technology it picked up with its acquisition of Waze back in June to integrate real time incident reports from Waze into Google Maps. The new integration means that when Waze users report incidents for everything from accidents to road closures, Google Maps users on both iOS and Android will now be able to benefit:

Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users. This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS.

The features will initially be limited to users in certain locations, including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. In addition, as Google first hinted back in June, the company will also be integrating Google Search into the Waze apps on iOS and Android, while the Waze Map Editor now has access to Google Street View imagery: Read more