Creative Commons image by Armand Frasco.

Creative Commons image by Armand Frasco.

If you have an iPhone, youa��re likely using Apple Maps for your navigation; recent news is that Apple Maps is used three times more often than Google Maps on iOS. Android users, however, have had access to Google Maps upgrades for some time now, and these upgrades have boosted the use of the app among Android users. Now, iOS users can enjoy many of these same upgrades. If you are currently using Apple Maps, it might be worth checking out all that Google Maps now has to offer. Here are some of the features.

Crowd Information

Dona��t you hate driving through gridlock, only to arrive at your destination and find that lines are long? This type of waiting can knock hours off of your week… and the frustration can give you more than a few gray hairs! Google Maps now shows you when various businesses are likely to be busy. You can probably surmise on your own that many places will be busy during rush hour, of course, but Google Maps goes a step further, taking into consideration real-time data provided by those who have opted in to location-sharing. You can check out the store traffic graphs, which are similar to road traffic graphs.

Gas Prices

Maybe therea��s nothing so annoying as getting off the interstate in a less-than-familiar area, filling up your gas tank, and then seeing that the gas station 1/4 mile down the road is charging 5 cents less per gallon. With Google Maps, a glance at your app will show you where the gas prices are the lowest, so you can make a decision as to whether to stop or to drive another short distance to get a better deal on gasoline. When combined with the crowd information for these gas stations, you can find yourself saving both time and money.

Offline Map Capabilities

If you find yourself in a sparsely populated area, you may discover that your service is as spotty as the population. You might also experience having no service when youa��re in a stadium, shopping mall or other large building. Downloading your maps ahead of time can allow you to check out your surroundings even if you dona��t have service. This is a great safety strategy, and one that is possible with Google Maps. Once you get service again, the app will switch back to its regular full-capability online mode.

Being aware that Google Maps is likely to get a whole lot more popular among iOS users due to these upgrades gives you yet another reason to make sure your Google listings are up to date (as if you needed one!). Double check that your listing is showing the correct business hours, location and telephone number so that those using the Google Maps app will have the right information when they need it.

yahoo maps gone
yahoo maps

CC image courtesy of Aaron Parecki.

Effective the end of June, Yahoo has discontinued Yahoo Maps. The company says that it will still have some mapping services available within other realms of Yahoo, but the maps wona��t necessarily be powered by Yahoo.

What does this mean for you, as a small business owner? Basically, ita��s a good reminder for you to make sure that your business is listed accurately with Google and Apple Maps. If your business name, address or zip code is not correct, you may end up with some very frustrated would-be customers!

Even if your address is listed correctly, sometimes a technological glitch will make it so the map displays incorrectly, which can, again, frustrate your visitors and customers. What can you do about this?

  1. Check Google Places and Google Local. If you have listings there, one might be incorrect. Updating to the right address will extend to all branches of Google, including Maps.
  2. Type your business name and incorrect address in a search engine. If another website has your information displayed inaccurately, it can trigger Google to do the same. If you find this to be the case, contact the site owner and ask them to update their information.
  3. Submit a help request to Google. Use Googlea��s Report a Problem page and follow the instructions. Youa��ll be able to let the company know what the issue is, and they will fix it. You might need to submit more than one help request, so keep an eye on whether you receive an answer in a timely manner.
  4. Report the problem to Apple. Last fall, Apple improved the process for reporting an issue with mapping with the IOS 8 update. You can follow the directions as described here to get your problem resolved.

You might have heard that location is everything when it comes to success in business, but in reality, having the best location in the world is not going to help you if people cana��t find it! Now that Yahoo Maps is defunct, ita��s important to double check your other map listings to make sure theya��re correct, so your customers can find you easily.

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