It’s official – the two tech giants, Google and Apple, are squaring off in what may be the tech business battle of the decade.
Google, well known for its HUGE amount of free and easy-to-use tools, and Apple, known for their innovation and impact on 21st-century living, are butting heads on one issue: maps.
Ever since Google Earth, we’ve been amazed by what Google’s capable of. I remember getting on Google Earth for the first time and checking out my neighborhood. For the first time in my life, I was able to see what my hometown looked like from the sky.
Of course, that was just a teaser for what was to come. Google soon took the technology in Google Earths and created the most intuitive and user-friendly maps system around – Google Maps.
With a few keystrokes, you could get spot-on directions to anywhere in the world. And it wasn’t just a map, no – you could actually get in “street view” and see what your location would look like when you arrived.
Now, it’s hard to remember a time before Google maps. Want to find a store near you? Google maps has you covered. Want to know how to reach downtown through public transportation? Google to the rescue.
Giving you car routes, public transit, walking, and biking routes, to say Google Maps has changed the lives of millions of people is a massive understatement.
Now Apple, with the impending release of iOS 6, plans to unseat the King of maps. Using the “Apple approach,” we can expect a seamless, beautiful, and easy-to-use maps system. But more importantly, this will be a maps service designed to fit in the palm of your hand.
With Google maps, the mobile experience can be clunky. It does feel like Google Maps is best on the desktop computer, then was ported to smartphones. Yes, it still works incredibly well, but there are some issues.
With the new Apple maps, we can expect these issues to be solved completely.
Although iOS 6 hasn’t been released yet, we can speculate on how maps will integrate with the operating system. Siri, the voice-activated “helper” in iOS5, will play a large role in how we navigate the streets.
Want to get somewhere? Simply tell your phone where you want to go and Apple maps will boot up, giving you turn-by-turn directions you can hold in the palm of your hand.
It’s easy to see how this can potentially improve 21st century living even more.
What it Means for Business Owners
We’ve talked about local search before, but Apple's move into the maps world takes that to the next level. With online (and brick and mortar) business, it’s crucial to integrate what’s “out there” on the internet with what’s going on in the physical world.
This is what Google and Apple are doing with their maps. Bringing the technology to the real world, enabling you to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible.
If you’re not currently utilizing what Google offers for local businesses, it’s time to start doing so immediately. Now with Apple getting into the game, Google will be forced to innovate and update their own local system. Think more features, a better user experience, and more ways to market your business to people who are looking for it.
Claim your business page on Yelp, ZAGAT, and Google+ local pages. Fill them out in detail, and add pictures of both your storefront and the products you offer. Aim to create the absolute best experience for potential customers looking for a business like yours.
Doing so will pay off big time as local search is taken to the next level.
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