Google Maps Updates Announced at I/O 2023

Hey folks. We just found out from Bing that May 12 is National Limerick Day. Who knew? We’d celebrate it by telling you one, but everything about the man from Nantucket has already been said.

We watched Wednesday’s Google I/O 2023 keynote. It was surprisingly uninteresting. Watch it for yourselves if you don’t want to take our word for it. Your time would be better spent watching our CTO’s presentation of Local Viking’s new auditing functionality on the 17th though. We’re about to start baking a whole bunch of metrics into our GeoGrid search results that will shine a light on everything that’s worth knowing about your competitors. Local Brand Manager will obviously get this feature too. You can register to attend Nate’s talk with this link.

We’ve also got a RepCo webinar in the works. We’re keeping the details vague for now because we don’t have a date for it nailed down yet, but we can give you a general overview of what to expect. We’re planning a tutorial that will show you how to grow your clients’ businesses with TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube with a $0 video marketing budget and a trivial amount of effort. Be on the lookout for a standalone email with the pertinent registration information sometime soon.

It feels a little strange announcing an announcement, but all kinds of wonky stuff is going on these days. YouTube started blocking ad blockers on Tuesday. Linda Yaccarino, an NBC executive, was announced as Twitter’s new CEO a few hours ago. Alarmingly, Gmail is stuffing more ads than ever in our inboxes and making them trickier to recognize (they look more like emails than they used to). This link explains how to send feedback directly to the Gmail team if any of you have thoughts about this that you’d like to share.

The upcoming Google Maps features that were announced at a Google I/O side event mostly focused on how to customize or add branding to embedded maps. Some of the updates were of a technical nature, like faster panning and zooming. The announcement we appreciated the most explained how to use your own markers instead of the standard, red Google Maps pin (some examples can be seen above this paragraph). There’s some new functionality that allows you to tilt and rotate 3D vector maps as well.

The Google Search Central YouTube channel put together a playlist of all the search-related videos from I/O 2023. All of the videos on the playlist come from the Google Chrome Developers channel, and they aren’t especially easy to follow if you don’t have a background in programming. If you’re a developer or the type of person who doesn’t get intimidated by someone narrating over screenshots of code, the video to prioritize is called What’s New in Web UI.

The only new Google Maps feature to make it into the I/O keynote was Immersive View for routes. You really need to see it to appreciate it. This two-minute video shows how you can plug a Point A and Point B into Google Maps and view a start-to-finish flyover that shows traffic conditions and precipitation. It’s a visually stunning feature, but we haven’t really sussed out any marketing implications for it yet. If you want to take a deeper dive, you should read this post on the Google Maps blog.

That’s the main stuff we have for you this week. It’s kind of a shame because we watched hours of Google I/O speeches, hoping to cherry pick the most interesting things for today’s newsletter. Like we said earlier though, it was a pretty underwhelming event– new folding phones on the way, they’re trying to get their AI act together, photo editing upgrades… There just wasn’t much in the way of marketing or SEO. We think Google may have been showing restraint because of the rushed Bard presentation they held in February that caused their market capitalization to drop by $100 billion.

As always, we’ll round things off with some links that are worth paying attention to. Microsoft launched a new ads platform for monetizing AI chatbots on Monday. They’re open to suggestions, which can be submitted through their Advertising Feedback portal. Ad Exchanger came up with some tips for advertising on TikTok. They’re pretty surface level (the first one is “ensure TikTok is a good fit for your brand”), but they’re better than nothing if this is something you’re considering and know nothing about. Business Insider wrote a Metaverse obituary. Will Arnett is about to co-star with Geico’s Gecko in a new ad campaign. That’s not especially relevant for a lot of you, we suppose, but he was GOB from Arrested Development. It’s always worth bringing up the greatest comedy show of all time. Finally, if you haven’t set your clients up on Apple Maps yet, you can do that here.

That’s it for this week. Come to Nate’s Wednesday talk if you can. Have a fantastic weekend.

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