Search giant Google has recently rolled out a new “community feed” on its Google Maps platform, signalling a further development in the platform’s “social features” that also helps promote local businesses.
The new feature is found under the “Explore” tab of Maps. According to Search Engine Land, in November 2019, the search giant began enabling its users to follow its LocalGuides program. The new community feed, which presents content linked to a user’s location, is an expansion on the LocalGuides’ concept of local discovery.
This new content is, in essence, lists, in which a broad range of different places and activities are showcased. Google Local Guides appears to have compiled all of the lists, with some examples being “Best Dog Parks from Sacramento to San Francisco” and “Parks & Gardens in Paris”. People can choose to follow specific lists, and they vary from location to location. There is, however, a “Trending Weekly” list for each location.
For users of Google Maps, this appears to be a useful update, particularly for tourists or visitors to an area looking for attractions and activities. There is also an advantage for businesses – when users of the community feed save a particular place, they can receive “Google Posts” from businesses in that location, which are essentially updates that resemble an Instagram feed. This update feed is not tailored to a person’s current location, meaning that a person’s feed will consist of all the locations they have saved.
On its official blog, Google wrote about one of the benefits of the community feed – increased exposure for Google Posts. It said:
“In early testing of the community feed we saw that posts from merchants are seen two times more than before the feed existed. So now more people can see if a local business is offering a new service, has a limited time specialty or opened outdoor seating.”
The new community feed is being rolled out globally for use on both iPhones and Androids. It appears to be another addition to the many different platforms that businesses can use to make their presence known online, target new customers and drive engagement.
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