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Google Maps goes after Yelp, Waze with added features

Google is challenging food recommendation and location services such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Waze and Urban Spoon with its recent update to the Google Maps mobile application, furthering its quest to become the one-stop digital hub for consumers.

The digital conglomerate is known for attempting to make its way into all areas of retail and digital services, and become the only place consumers need to access for all their navigational needs. Its latest update to the Google Maps app prompts users to upload images of food after detecting a photograph taken within a restaurant location, and will help it compete with popular ratings app Yelp.

“Google is likely taking a page from the Waze playbook here by using real-time crowdsourced information to enhance the map experience they provide with real images, taken by real people,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

Mapping success
Google Maps’ recent update allows the app to recognize when a user snaps a photo on his or her smartphone while at restaurant or food retail location. The app then sends a push notification to the user, encouraging him or her to upload the picture.

The location mobile app acts as a review congregate, with this new feature acting as a pull to further its place as recommendations app. While users are already searching for locations of nearby restaurants, the digital company feels as though it can get in on the review game as well.

Restaurants and food retailers now have another app pushing consumers towards their businesses and helping them make an informed dining decision. Google is hoping that the call-to-action messages will incite a slew of food-related photos, increasing its relevancy in the dining space, as well as awareness for the ratings features.

The prompts are only available to Google Maps’ higher-up ratings users, called local guides, and messages them once a photo on the device has been taken, offering to attach a location to a post if shared on social media. The exclusiveness of the feature will allow for Google to fill its app with higher quality pictures, appearing as a more professional ratings system.

Google takeover
Google is continuing to move up in the mobile world, and is foraying into various retail sectors.

For instance, Google unleashed a series of mobile payments initiatives at its annual developer conference in June including a hands-free payments pilot with McDonald’s and Papa John’s – as the technology giant looks to ride Apple Pay’s momentum and guarantee its own leadership role in Android-based transactions (see more).

Also, Google’s Now on Tap feature, which makes mobile commerce more immediate by serving information within the app the consumer is using, gave brands incentive to provide compelling offers that users can download to their mobile wallets while helping Google to remain relevant amid competition in mobile search (see more).

The navigation service has a growing number of competitors and needs to work on developing these services to compete.

“Waze is giving Google Maps a run for their money recently, as drivers realize the benefits of live reporting by other drivers and the impact on navigation,” Mr. Kerr said.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily