3 September, 2019

New Places Autocomplete release improves user experience

Many different industries rely on Google Maps Places Autocomplete functionality to improve the speed and accuracy for consumers when they’re searching for an address or finding points of interest nearby. 

Whether you’re a real estate agency that wants to show the schools in a neighbourhood around your property listings, or a tourism agency that wants to display public points of interest, such as parks or tourist attractions; it’s important to identify what your users care about and enable them to find the information quickly. 

The latest Google Maps Places Autocomplete update helps users identify points of interest more efficiently with a range of new place types and icons. Users can now spend less time clicking through search results, helping them make faster decisions and as a result, saving businesses money on a platform that charges per request. 

Differentiate between place types for faster search results

Users can now differentiate between a range of place types with the latest Places Autocomplete update. Places Autocomplete previously allowed users to type an address or name of an establishment without determining which specific type of place they were after. 

This meant there was no differentiation between a shopping centre and a school on a search result.  Health services, restaurants and natural features are among the list of different place types available following the latest Places Autocomplete release.

Revised iconography shows users categories of place types

In addition to the new range of place types available, there are a set of icons placed next to the search requests in the drop down to help users quickly visualise the different place types. For example, restaurants in your neighbourhood can be identified by a knife and fork icon in the search drop down. 

This is particularly useful for the real estate industry as companies are expected to provide easy-to-use navigation across their property listings to help customers find their perfect new home. 

With a wide range of place types available in autocomplete search, a future home buyer can now quickly visualise what school zone they fall in, where their local health care services are how far away grocery stores are from them. 

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Filter results for more relevant customer searches

Tailored search results based on customer needs makes searching on Google Maps more efficient for the end user. Businesses can now filter their searches based on different place types.

For businesses, Places Autocomplete becomes the most costly Google Maps functionality when it is not optimised properly. By minimising the opportunity for mis-clicks and reducing irrelevant search results, the business is reducing their Google Maps operational costs. 

The ability to filter search results is particularly beneficial in the tourism industry. Tourism agencies can now filter their searches to show only relevant search listings such as hotels and different modes of transport available in areas. 

By having a wider range of place types available and the ability to filter and combine different business types, the consumer is able to reach their search results faster, saving them time and improving the user experience on the business website. 

Enable users to make informed, location-based decisions 

Customers want to make relevant decisions based on the most time efficient option for them. The new Places Autocomplete release shows a straight-line distance from the user’s location to help customer’s searching for a franchise find their nearest store. 

For retailers and grocers, this information in invaluable in providing a seamless experience for their click and collect services. The addition of the distance next to the search drop down helps users quickly identify their nearest store.

Businesses can place a location bias from where the user is to only show stores in a certain region. By minimising the options available to the user based on distances from stores, users are deterred from making unnecessary clicks on the different store options which further reduces the cost of the pay for your usage subscription under the Google Maps Platform.

Currently, the straight line distance field is only available as a Places API under web services on the Google Maps Platform. 

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We have more tips and guides to help you optimise Google Maps for your business.

Liveli is a Google Maps Premier Partner that can offer partner volume discounts and support options to help maximise your value from the Google Maps Platform. 

If you’re interested in how you could be using the Google Maps Platform to improve the user experience, get in touch with the Liveli team.

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