Search giant Google has recently introduced an update to its Maps tool – a messaging feature.
Over the years, Google Maps has become one of the company’s most used services and as a result, Google has added a range of new features, functions and tools to ensure that it keeps growing in popularity and remains a relevant, market-leading product.
The latest feature Google believes will enhance its product is an instant messaging feature. Upon hearing this, many may consider why the company needs to implement such a feature, as there are plenty of popular platforms available on both desktop and mobile devices dedicated solely to messaging and social. Google itself even has one in the form of Google Hangouts.
However, the feature is not as it seems. The new tool may prove to be a useful and welcome addition to Maps and could help to further improve the navigation experience of users of the most popular map app in the world.
While it is supporting a chat function, the messages tool will only let users connect with businesses rather than their friends, colleagues and acquaintances. This can be useful to users of the service that may require specific details about a local shop, restaurant or other business they cannot find online.
A Reddit user with the username sanju2cool first spotted Google’s tests and shared screenshots showing the new Messages option within the menu. As with many tests undertaken by Google across its various platforms, and in fact many large tech firms, it may not be available to all users right away as it tends to test among a small number of users before deciding whether or not to implement to change permanently.
The screenshot shared by the Reddit user did not show any active messages with local businesses, so it is still unclear whether the feature actually works on all devices with the tab. What this does mean for businesses, however, is that they will actually have to use the feature in order to work with potential new customers and clients.
Although the feature may prove to be a hit with the everyday user, many businesses may not share the same enthusiasm, as it does mean keeping a close eye on the inbox for new messages. This could result in some businesses being overloaded by messages and struggling to respond to them within an appropriate timeframe.
Hopefully for businesses that hold this concern, this will not be the case as Google Maps already offers plenty of information about businesses, such as opening times, addresses and even when the company’s busiest times of the day are, showing that Maps is more than just a navigational tool as the name would suggest.