Google yesterday announced a new feature for Google Maps that will let you chat with businesses you find on the Maps. The Google Maps new feature – business messaging – is now available to Android and iPhone users on the left-hand slide-out drawer as a “message” button you can use to message businesses you find in Google Maps. It is the latest effort from the search giant to participate in instant messaging after failing to impress users with Hangout, Allo and RCS chat.
Businesses that want to participate will need to install the new Google My Business app from the respective store [Apple or Google Play Store], according to Google. They will also be required to use the app’s verification system to activate the feature. Business messaging is rolled out for Google users in additional countries worldwide; it’s no longer limited to users in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and India. That means every enabled local business can now connect with customers from anywhere.
Conflicting potentials of the Google Maps business chat
The business messaging feature on Google Maps is genuinely a useful feature for everyone; both customers and employees. It makes communication easier, especially for the information users are willing to wait for an answer. Customers can send the same question to several stores while trying to find out if they still have a product in their store, for instance, and make a choice of where to get them without having to stay on a call. Store employees spend less time responding to customers for simple questions.
Google is still sorting avenues to resuscitate Hangouts, Allo and RCS Chat which are supposed to be used by business owners in reaching customers. The advent of this feature in Google Maps is further cannibalizing the dedicated messaging platforms already in a mess. Putting business messaging inside Maps and not another messaging app makes sense; it doesn’t clash with your personal messages, as Google notes. But that has ridiculed any plans to leverage RCS inside Android Messages.
Lastly, Google Maps is becoming an app for almost every feature. While all the features included in the Maps are complementary, getting directions in it is becoming more difficult to access. Google launched a “follow” button just last month for local businesses and included features to enable users to share their estimated time of arrival. It now has redesigned “Explore” section that won’t let you view cross street near your destination without spending the time to zoom and re-zoom, sometimes up to three minutes.
Google Maps is simply becoming overburdened and measuring up with Facebook’s Big Blue that lets you do a thousand things across everywhere. Google could be on a mission to kill off Yelp but finding it difficult to come out. That could be the reason why it’s slowing moving everything to Google Maps without knowing how ambiguous the app is becoming. Some users barely recall all they can do with Google Maps because they simply can’t spend all their time on a single app.