Friday 22 Jan 2010
Mike Blumenthal just received his complimentary Nexus One for being a top contributor to the Google Maps Help Forum, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is well-deserved! I’m also pretty sure that, now that Mike has this smart phone, we’ll all be getting to read some great future articles about Mobile/Local and the Nexus One. I thought I’d kick things off with a basic post about using the built-in Maps feature on the Nexus One as post #4 in the brand new Mobile category here on the SEOigloo blog.
It’s Not What You’re Used To
Okay, so, you’re probably pretty used to the setup of the desktop version of Google Maps by now, if you’ve got any interest at all in Local SEO. What I found, in trying to access Maps the traditional way on this cell phone is that it didn’t look too great (it seems a little fuzzy) and that the layout for the whole thing wasn’t working well on my device. The sidebar seemed to be missing, for one thing and I couldn’t get the small popups to appear over businesses I was searching for.
Leave it to Google to provide a much nicer solution for Mobile users. The Nexus One comes with a built-in icon for the Mobile-ready version of Maps. The quality of my photos won’t quite do the clarity of this display justice, but it should give you a good idea of what things look like. To start with, the map is nice and clear, correctly sized for Mobile, and by using the Voice command tool or the keyboard, I can search for a business. We get a lovely silver pin with a garnet-red center designating the business I’ve searched for in the SF Bay Area:
If I tap my finger on the pin, I’m taking to a handsome silver, black and white display of potential information I can access about this business. It’s very different from the layout of a Place Page, as you can see:
The information I can get from this page includes:
-Contact info (address, number, etc)
-Details (Hours, Payments Accepted, Description, etc.)
-Show on Map
-Street View (only available for some businesses on Mobile)
-Report a Problem
-Add as a contact
Amazingly awesomely, if I click the Phone link, the phone will start dialing this business for me. How cool is that?
Now, let’s click the Review link to see what that gives us:
We’ve got the starred sentiment analysis graph and a single text snippet, inviting us to read all of the reviews, which, of course, I want to do:
Here, we get to a more Google-Maps-looking display, with a white background and black text, showing us all of the reviews for the business. The one thing I’m not seeing here that I expect to be seeing is the request for me to leave a review of this business. Maybe Mike can find that. I’ve not been able to yet.
But, after just an hour or so of fooling around with the way Maps works on Mobile, I’m feeling I can use it with comfort and pleasure.
One last thing of significant interest that I just figured out this minute!
Going to Google’s main search page in the browser, I see something else that is very different. You know how Google has always had that row of links to their major components: Web, Images, Videos, Maps, etc.? Well, well, well. On my Nexus One, that list has been simplified down to: Web, Images, Local and More. Oh-ho. I’ve just found how to get to the display I know best where the Place Pages are easily accessed via a business name search (remember, you can use voice or keyboard). I see, I see. Thanks for learning along with me as I go.