By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people, according to Cisco. And of those people with smartphones, approximately 3 in 4 regularly use their device to get directions and other location-related information, according to Pew.
Whether you call it the Great Pin Drop or GPS on Steroids, you should ask yourself: What am I doing to capitalize on these searches? If your business or organization isn’t providing people with access to the location-based information they want, it might be costing you money. (Or in the case of cities or hospitals, even lives.)
Enter online mapping pioneer Google, which recently offered up a powerful solution in the form of a new Google Maps API. The API allows you to layer your own data onto Google Maps — and then import and share those maps with your employees, customers and prospects via virtually any app or device.
FedEx discovered the power of Google Maps API firsthand this summer, re-architecting our store locator to take advantage of the technology. FedEx IT manager Pat Doyle says it’s all about better customer service. FedEx updates our store hours for 50,000-plus retail touch points — including drop boxes — every 15 minutes using Google Maps API. If a power outage or natural disaster closes a location, it’s reflected on the store locator within minutes.
”Google Maps Engine customers range from major retail brands with public-facing websites to government organizations across the globe,” says Dylan Lorimer, senior product manager for Google Maps for Business. In addition to FedEx, he cites CalTrans, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the City of New York’s crisis management team as early adopters.
Lorimer thinks the power and popularity of Google Maps is just beginning to be tapped.
“Consumers use it to plan vacations, find restaurants and do all sorts of activities related to their day-to-day lives,” he says. “Businesses recognize that maps are now ubiquitous, and that it often makes sense for maps to play a role in how they present information. To date it has been very difficult to create and share maps — but Google Maps Engine changes this.”
Want to learn more about Google Maps for Business? Don’t be afraid to — you know — ask for directions! Just go to maps.google.com/enterprise.