The news from Google's annual I/O conference has become more valuable every year to traditional marketers as they continue to develop products that create communication and connection opportunities. Smart marketers know that they need to keep up with technology developments or risk being left behind; and at this point, Google is driving. The Marketing Team here at SproutLoud is chock full of geeks (but full disclosure: we're NOT developers) so we followed the announcements from today and summarized the major updates here for you.
1. Google Maps -- Maps has lots of new features
- going 3-D
- showing indoor images now that users can send content for inclusion via photospheres
- integration with offers
- integration with zagat ratings, so there will be more data accessible through Maps
- Explore -- a local search listing interface -- but this might just be for tablets
Why This is Important: The local data at user's fingertips from search now will be much more compelling, so you'll want to be sure to have as much of your business information listed there as you can. And how cool is it to know ahead of time that cookies are on aisle 7 next time you go into a supermarket that you're not already familiar with?
2. Three New Google Location APIs for app developers
Fused location provider, which uses all available sources to pinpoint location and has a low-power mode; Geo-fencing, to spot users entering geographic zones; and Activity Recognition to see what users are up to. Keeping it local is going to become easier. These APIs provide more information to marketers that can be used to enrich applications that use location based information- read local marketing. Why This is Important: Time will tell what 3rd party developers will be able to do with these APIs, but think about the scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise walked into the Gap and it asked him about his recent purchase. Stuff like that.
3. Mobile/ Chrome Update
New image and video format reduces the amount of data needed for each image, lessening the data footprint of images, currently comprising 60% of all data. Why This is Important: Better, stronger, faster. This is most likely in preparation for Google Glass.
4. Android Mobile Devices
Buying from mobile devices is cumbersome, typically requiring many steps with lots of information, and difficulty inputting it all on a small screen. The the abandon rate from shopping carts on mobile devices is an astonishing 97%. Android users can now take this down to three steps with stored sign-on data, lowering the barrier to purchase for many users. Why This is Important: If you conduct commerce online, now it will be easier for mobile device users.
Google announced that there are 41 new features today, but don't panic, we won't list them all here. The big news is the new design which is quite a change from the old and looks much more streamlined, with multiple columns. You may need to visit your Google+ Local page to make sure that your images still render properly and look good. Why This is Important: All these changes makes for a better user experience and (as Google hopes) more time on site. It also means your content may be compromised, so double check that you don't have to upload or resize images.
Voice Search has improved, with the ability to activate the mic hands-free and search returns are text and images. Also, search is becoming more anticipatory about what types of follow up searches or queries you might have. This segues into Google Now, the personalized and predicative content recommendation feature. Why This is Important: If you don't already think Google is the center of the universe, its about time you started. At least when it comes to distributing information. So for any business interested in Local Search, its time to go all in and give Google all your information so they can deliver it to your potential new customers.