Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Google Maps Revamps App for iOS and Android

Monday, July 29, 2013

Google Maps

As I mentioned in my Search Engine Land column this week, Google just released an update to its popular Google Maps app that adds several new features and presents a significantly enhanced user experience. The updated app also lends greater visibility for local businesses – putting nearby products and services at the forefront.

With this update, Google is changing the app’s search function from being purely an informational tool to a broader discovery tool. In addition to being able to search by specific address or business, users can now also select the “Explore” feature, which allows them to browse local businesses by categories including “Eat,” “Drink,” “Play,” “Shop” and “Sleep.” From there, Google breaks user selections down to even more specific categories. For example, the “Drink” section features nearby top-rated cafes, coffee, bars and pubs.

Google Maps Explore

Google Maps

 

Users can tap on a business to pull up listing cards that show key information like phone numbers, operating hours, and travel time from their current location. They can also view business photos and read and write reviews, all without leaving the app.

Google Maps Small Business

 

In addition to local business listings, Google has also included a list of popular local services like grocery stores, pharmacies, ATMs, gas stations, and copy shops.

Google Maps

 

Although much of the information in Maps isn’t new, the update allows for a more streamlined and centralized user experience.  The consolidation of Google’s local services into Maps uniquely positions the app as a one-stop tool that allows users to find and compare local favorites, navigate to their destination, and rate their experiences.  In its new form, Google Maps affirms its position as leader in maps and location services by ensuring that users don’t have to leave the platform to find driving directions or public transit routes to their destination of choice.

As Google Maps continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly critical for local businesses to manage their presence on the platform. Local businesses can promote themselves and maximize exposure on Maps by verifying that all their information is up-to-date, that their Google+ Local profile (which provides much of the information and photos shown in Google Maps) is complete and by working to ensure online reviews left on their listing are generally positive.

Apple Announces New Maps Feature, Taking on Google

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Apple made international headlines this week with the announcement of its own mobile Maps service, taking on Google’s dominating Google Maps feature.

The service, which will launch as part of Apple’s iOS 6 upgrade this fall, represents Apple’s efforts to keep users within its ecosystem as its iPhone – which currently comes preloaded with Google Maps – rivals Google’s Android devices. The result of years of development, Apple’s Maps feature will replace Google Maps on the iPhone and iPad. The change represents a major blow to Google, which receives about half of its maps traffic from Apple mobile devices.

Apple’s new mapping service creates an entirely new platform for local businesses, many of which are listed on Google Maps. Apple is already integrating information from about 100 million businesses into its mapping service and relying on Yelp for reviews and ratings, according to PCWorld.com. Apple’s announcement comes just weeks after Google transitioned its Places business listings service to Google+ Local.

The new Apple maps service will provide users with 3D images of cities called “Flyover,” along with real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation, according to Reuters. In fact, iPhone and iPad users will be able to consult Siri to ask for directions.

We’ll keep our eye on this major development and its impact on the mobile local search space.

3 Simple Steps To Get Siri & Her Friends To Talk Up Your Local Business

Monday, November 14, 2011

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I provide a three-step overview of what local businesses can and should be doing to attract and secure visibility on voice-activated mobile apps like the Apple iPhone 4S’s Siri and Google’s Andorid’s Voice Actions.

  1. Ensure an accurate and complete Google Places page: Google Places provides the foundation for how local businesses get found on both Siri and Voice Actions.
  2. Generate positive reviews and add multimedia content: While a spiced up Google Places page won’t have an impact on how Siri users find and evaluate a local business location (see step 3 for that), it will play a strong role in the Voice Actions experience.
  3. See step 2, and do it on Yelp: Most local business searches conducted via Siri are done so through Yelp, the popular local reviews site. Therefore, local businesses should embark on a similar effort to create and maintain highly descriptive Yelp profiles and generate as many positive customer reviews to their Yelp pages as possible.

You can read my full article on Search Engine Land here.

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In a move that is rocking the mobile industry, Google announced this week that it will purchase Motorola Mobility. If approved by regulators, the move will turn Google, which develops the popular Android software now used by 2 in 5 smartphone users, into “a full-fledged cellphone manufacturer, in direct competition with Apple,” according to the New York Times.

In a post on Google’s Official Blog, CEO Larry Page said that the acquisition will not change Google’s commitment to running Android as an open platform, which is currently used by popular manufacturers including Samsung and HTC. And while many of these manufacturing partners said they supported the deal yesterday, analysts recognize that relations could sour over time as if these companies begin to view Google as more of a competitor than partner.

The deal is raising widespread speculation about the future of mobile. Will manufacturers now shy away from Android and adopt Microsoft’s mobile platform? Are Nokia and Research in Motion (BlackBerry), both struggling manufacturers with a significant number of valuable patents, next in line to be purchased?

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the fallout from the Google-Motorola deal as it relates to our business, which has increasingly leveraged the Android platform in recent years to deliver browsing- and application-based local search offerings on mobile and tablet devices. Whatever changes take place, we’re   sure our members will be quick to adapt their offerings to provide the best local search experience wherever consumers are looking.

comScore: Smartphone Subscribers Up 8%; 2 in 5 Now Use Google Android

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last week, comScore released its quarterly mobile trends report, and the findings revealed some interesting takeaways related directly to our business.

The number of U.S. smartphone subscribers – those most likely to take advantage of our industry’s mobile directories and location-based apps – continues to rise at a rapid pace. Approximately 78.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending June 2011, up 8% from the preceding three month period.

Google Android, the most popular smartphone platform, continues to gain market share. Today, 2 in 5 smartphone subscribers (40.1% share) use Google Android, up 5.4% from the prior reporting period. Apple strengthened its #2 position with 26.6% share of the smartphone market, up 1.1%. RIM (Blackberry) ranked third with 23.4% share, down 3.7%. Microsoft (5.8%) and Symbian (2%) rounded out the top five, both down as well.

On a related note, a new study from Jumptap, a mobile ad network, found that smartphone platform use varies by geography. The study showed that consumers with Apple’s iPhone tend to congregate in the Northwest and Midwest, while Google Android users are more likely to be found in the South and Southwest. BlackBerry is dominant in a handful of states, including New York.

With the smartphone market growing fast – and ongoing shifts taking place in the different mobile platforms consumers are using (and where they are using them) – our industry needs to remain agile, and create and adapt future offerings to take advantage of areas of growth.

As our 2011 State of Local Search study showed, there is an expanding appetite for local content among mobile subscribers, with more than 77 million mobile subscribers now access local content on their mobile devices. The time is now to build offerings that will help local business advertisers reach this significant audience wherever and however they are searching via mobile.

Yellowbook, AT&T Launch Updated Tablet Apps

Monday, June 13, 2011

As consumers increasingly adopt iPads and tablets, local search companies are continuing to refine their business listings apps to provide users with newer features.

Last week, Yellowbook announced the launch of a new version of its U.S. Yellow Pages application designed for Android tablets. The new app features map-based business listing results, and users can quickly find a business by searching the business name or category or by browsing popular categories, their search history or nearby businesses.

The map-based interaction is an easy way for consumers to quickly access whether a particular business is in a convenient location  for them. For example, a user can coordinate visiting local businesses close by to one another to avoid extra travel time.

Late last month, AT&T updated its YP Yellow Pages app for iPad. The app, available in the Navigation category in the App Store, introduces faster access to local deals. The app also takes advantage of the iPad’s printing capabilities, allowing users to cash in on local merchant discounts both online and in-person through digital and printable coupons.

Additionally, the app features an updated look and feel, new features that support a faster connection to local businesses and better sharing capabilities.

For more information, read the Yellowbook release and the AT&T YP release.

Dex One Launches ‘Dex,’ a New Multi-Platform Mobile App

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dex One joins the ranks of major industry players including SuperMedia, AT&T, and Citysearch in introducing improved multi-platform mobile apps that are changing the way consumers search and share local business information on the go.

In an announcement this week, Dex One said it is unveiling a new mobile app, Dex, which will be a local resource for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, and other web-enabled mobile device users. According to Dex, the app will provide users with real-time, detailed insight into millions of business, events and more in neighborhoods across the country.

Dex’s new app includes a variety of useful features:

  • Local event information: Look-up information on upcoming concerts, plays and other local events and save it to their mobile calendars.
  • Cheapest gas prices: Find the cheapest and closest gas stations using the GPS on their phones.
  • Find a taxi: Use their devices’ GPS to find the closest cab company to their location.
  • Restaurant reservations: Find local restaurants and make reservations via OpenTable.com.
  • Share information via Facebook and Twitter: Share information about local businesses via their social media profiles.
  • Popular category search: Search for local businesses by favorite topics.
  • “DexSays”: View rotating tips that help users learn more about Dex Mobile’s features.

I took some time this afternoon to download the Dex app on my BlackBerry and am really impressed with how easy it is to use. I can’t wait to put the app to work next time I’m out and have something important to look up!

Facebook Launches Local Deals for Mobile

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recently, we blogged about how Yellow Pages companies such as Yellow Pages Group and Yellowbook are launching group buying and other deal offerings as a means of attracting new advertisers and consumers on their websites.

Now Facebook is entering into the deals space with a new feature that will allow retailers and other merchants to offer coupons and special deals through its popular mobile application, The New York Times reports.

According to the Times, people who use Facebook’s new location feature, Places, will see a yellow icon indicating that a redeemable deal or coupon is available within their vicinity. Users can then use Places to “check in” at the store or restaurant and show their mobile phone to the employee to receive the deal.

The article notes that Facebook will not charge businesses directly to list deals and coupons, but that businesses can purchase advertising to attract visibility for their deals on Facebook.

While Facebook’s initial advertisers will include major retailers such as Gap, H&M, and McDonalds, the company said it plans to eventually expand to all merchants and small businesses with a Facebook Places page.

The new feature will initially only available to Facebook iPhone app users and to Android users through a special mobile website, however it certainly has the potential to be added to additional platforms in the future. More than 200 million people currently use Facebook via their mobile devices.

Tech Headlines: Foursquare Helps SMBs, Android Market Share Grows, News Outlets Circle Tablet

Friday, October 8, 2010

NYT: Geolocation Services: Find a Smartphone, Find a Customer
The New York Times reports on small business success stories using Foursquare, the popular geolocation service, to create promotions and buzz about their offerings. The article includes tips for how small businesses can get started and emphasizes the value of the site’s analytics tool to learn more about customer behavior. As geolocation continues to gain momentum, Yellow Pages companies are a creating a variety of apps to ride the trend—one of my favorites being Yell Group’s augmented reality app.

Praized: Android Rapidly Gaining Mobile OS Market Shares
Sebastien Provencher notes a new Nielsen study which found that Google’s Android was the top Smartphone platform for recent acquirers from January through August—accounting for 32% of new purchases—followed by both iPhone and BlackBerry at 25%. When looking at the overall market, BlackBerry remains on top at 31% of Smartphone users, followed by iPhone at 28% and Android at 19%. YP companies including SuperMedia’s SuperPages, AT&T’s YP.com, and DexOne’s DexKnows have mobile apps for all three platforms either available or in development.

WSJ: News Outlets Circle Tablet
The Wall Street Journal writes that several major news organizations—including The New York Times, USA Today, and the WSJ itself—are developing applications for a new tablet device from Samsung built on Google’s Android software. Given that Yellow Pages companies were so quick to create apps for the popular Apple iPad, I look forward to hearing more about what our industry has in store for this new offering.

DMS ’10: Opportunities for Yellow Pages on the iPad

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Launched earlier this year, Apple’s iPad is already a popular innovation platform for Yellow Pages companies. And based on today’s panel, I’m convinced the iPad and other tablet versions—including those featuring Google’s Android software—will offer unlimited opportunities for our industry moving forward.

Mike Wilson, GM and VP, Digital Media for Yellowbook, said the development of his company’s iPad application is a continuation of its overall distribution strategy. Wilson said there is always a lively debate going on at Yellowbook about how to better distribute content and generate additional exposure—but that the debate raged like never before with the iPad.

Wilson highlighted how rapid consumer adoption of the iPad and other tablet devices drove Yellowbook’s interest in the device. He said that 2 million iPads were sold within the first 60 days of the device hitting stores—and that Apple will soon produce 3 million iPad devices per month to keep up with demand. He noted that by 2012, iPad sales will eclipse Apple’s Mac revenue—a remarkable feat. He also said that sales of tablets featuring Android software will eclipse PC revenue sales in just two years.

Wilson showed off the incredible interface on Yellowbook’s table app, which is the #10 most popular in the iPad lifestyle category and #5 overall free app for the Android. Yellowbook’s app features basic business information (address, phone number, map), social media integration (Facebook and Twitter), and reviews. It also includes embedded video and links to local business websites… and get this, the ability to “Skype” a local business!

Moving forward, Wilson noted that Yellowbook is looking at ways to leverage group buying opportunities on the app through its new Weforia.com website. He also said that Yellowbook will soon roll out a barcode scanning tool that will allow users to find local real-time inventory of desired products.

Ron Mintle, president and CEO of Yellow Magic, also highlighted his company’s iPad app, which takes a different approach by retaining all the facets of a print Yellow Pages directory with the added benefit of being searchable. One of the great things about Yellow Magic’s app is that local companies can update their listings throughout the year when they need to, as well as take advantage of splash screens, sponsored search, banners, and other features.

Another interesting offering from Yellow Magic is an iPad app that provides Yellow Pages sales teams with the ability to complete mobile electronic contracts and signature captures. This tool allows sales teams to monitor sales territories, reps, canvasses, and revenue in real-time and eliminates the need for sales call reports—allowing for more time for selling. It will be exciting to see this app in action out in the field.

And while not a native of the Yellow Pages industry, Tobias Dengel, CEO of Willowtree Apps, concluded the session by providing great insight into opportunities on the iPad and the need for our industry to continue innovating to stay ahead of the curve. He shared two great iPad apps as examples of what’s possible: an animated Alice in Wonderland app and the Kayak app, which allows users to search flight and hotel prices. Be sure to check them out!