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If you weren’t aware, Google does indoor maps. If you were aware, you may not have known of the extent of the buildings that have been mapped already. You can view a list of over 10,000 buildings that have been mapped, here.
Users can upload their own building plans, as long as the building in question is public and there’s no problem with copyright or secrecy.
Uploading a building map of your stores, much like John Lewis and House of Fraser in the UK and Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s in the US, is probably a great idea. I’ve previously discussed the smartphone user journey, and indoor maps can slot right in to Google’s domination of that journey.
Even those who aren’t looking for anything specific on their phone, i.e. passing trade, might be tempted by maps. Certainly, if there is any pedestrian traffic outside of your stores, the extra detail may persuade potential customers to step inside, especially if there’s a marker on café, toilets, sportswear, perfume etc. (although the user has to be fully zoomed in to see the indoor map).
The initial benefit, of course, is that lost and tech-savvy customers (teens is likely to be a big demographic) can find their way to whichever desk or concession they need, once inside.
To some shoppers, the idea of needing a Google Map to find the toilets in a supermarket is a bit demoralising – surely we don’t need tech so far engrained in our lives? But, with malls, out of town shopping centres and bigger retail stores a trend that hasn’t abated, I think in retail there’s a good case for indoor maps.
And there are lots of good uses outside of retail, too. Let’s take a look at some of the best uses of indoor maps, taken from Google’s case studies.
Can the vaunted joint venture between the UK network operators get them back on top in the mobile advertising arms race?
There has be all manner of speculation and rumour circulating over the last week or so about how exactly Facebook is going to approach the whole 'location' issue after seemingly shutting down its Places and Deals sites.
But much of the evidence suggests Facebook is even more focused on location now that it has been to date.
As I've already suggested, the latest feature updates Facebook rolled out recently actually puts location in a more prominent position; right in front of every user, every time they post a status update. And Facebook has been very clear that 'check-in deals' won't be disappearing anytime soon either.
Econsultancy’s new Location-based Marketing Smart Pack has just been released as a theory-driven explanatory guide about this rapidly evolving area.
I’ve identified 26 key elements inside this wide and complex channel that you probably need to be aware of. Notice that it’s a mixture of trends, platforms, strategy and more, as I’ve avoided simply listing the main players in the market that everyone knows about.
Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything important!
Doug Chisholm is the Managing Director of Rippll, a location-based marketing solutions company, which helps brands to target consumers through portable devices in order to increase brand engagement and response rates.
I caught up with him in an attempt to demystify some of the pressing issues surrounding the eruption of location-based mobile marketing...
Facebook's foray into location-based services launched last night. And while Places borrows heavily from existing services available on Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla, one difference is the way that Facebook plans to grow its new product.
Facebook Places check-ins will be shared with users' entire network of friends. And if users wish, they can check other people into locations. Perhaps predictably, there are some privacy issues with this approach. But it ensures that people who may not otherwise interact with Places are sure to know it exists. And unless objections arise, Facebook's appraoach should be great for user adoption.
Location offers businesses of all sizes a real opportunity to streamline and improve their entire customer experience, fully integrating web and print offers with simple, convenient payment and collection options. Coupons are a good start, but it remains to be seen which companies will make the most of location.
Google may not be at the front of the current geolocation charge, but that doesn't mean the search giant isn't interested in taing over. This week Google announced a new feature that it hopes will make users more comfortable sharing their location with Google.
The Google Location History Dashboard gives Latitude users a snapshot of where they've been. That data may just provide some utility for users (and get people more comfortable using Google's location service).
With all of the interest in local and mobile advertising going on right now, Facebook has been quickly preparing its own location-based check-in feature. And now it looks like the social network could be close to launching.
And Facebook is seeking the help of McDonald's as an initial launch partner. When check-in to McDonald's from their status updates — which could happen as soon as this month — they'll also be able to feature a McDonald's product in their post. Doesn't that sound like fun?
As any event organizer knows, getting people to communicate and interact at your event can be crucial to its success. And for attendees, Twitter has become a great resource for locating and sharing real-time data. But for everyone else, Twitter updates surrounding one topic can quickly turn into noise.
It's a problem that is especially heightened at SxSW, when techies flood the zone of Austin and their friends back home are inundated with information about it. While it could potentially be solved by better filtering on Twitter, two companies are trying to stake their claim in the space this week.
This week, both Twitter and Facebook have come out with big location news. Twitter is adding geolocation features and Facebook will soon let users share their location. Both of those announcements could strike fear in the heart of a mobile check-in service like Foursquare. But Foursquare is banking its success in the mobile check-in space on attention to detail. And the company also has some new features — that could be very useful for small businesses.
In the next few weeks, Foursquare is going to start sharing a free analytics tool that will help small businesses track — and communicate with — their customers.
Twitter is over three years old and many people still don't get it. Just last week, The NewYorker's George Packer called it “crack for media addicts.” But will real-time oversharing services make it into the mainstream?
At The Future of Space and Time talk during Social Media Week in New York on Wednesday, panelists from the tech world noted that conditioning larger audiences to share their real-time info and location will be necessary for such technologies to truly take off.
And for advertisers, this could be the key to actually serving those relevant ads everyone's always talking about.