Google Maps Gets More Social With Shared Lists

The analytics potential from Google Maps users sharing lists represents an even deeper level of insight for the search giant and the brands it works with.

Google Maps, having recently allowed its users to save specific places within distinct lists that specified between “Favorites” and “Places I Want To Go,” is now letting people share those lists with others.

This addresses a long-held pet peeve for people who wanted to share ideas for a weekend plan or help out visiting friends and colleagues who wanted advice what to do when they get to a town. In the past, users could only share a spot’s location information one at a time.

“The lists you follow are with you wherever you take Google Maps and are viewable on mobile and desktop—and even offline,” writes Zach Maier, Product Manager, Google Maps, in a blog post. “Next time you’re on a trip, download offline maps of the area in advance and you’ll be able to see all the places you’ve added to lists on the map itself.”

By sharing users’ custom lists via email, text, and Google+ directly (sorry, to share via Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, users will have to go an extra step and copy a link), Google Maps is offering a new area for retailers, restaurants, cultural institutions a way to driver higher profiles. For example, a store brand could encourage its regulars to create a list with it in mind.

Analytics Boost

In addition to pleasing users with another feature, the ability to glean even deeper insights Google will be able to offer brands based on the sharing activity it records.

For example, Google has been steadily aligning its local inventory ads within Maps since last year. By examining the lists Google Maps users create and then share, the ability to craft more targeted ads that more accurately anticipate the specific kinds of places consumers are likely to go in the near future will further feed Google’s ability to successfully market “near me” searches and “micro-moments.”

The shared lists could also offer greater potential for tourism boards as well as travel and hospitality brands.

Google Maps now lets user share the custom lists of places with others.

Coming almost a year after the separate Google Trips was rolled out, Google Maps list sharing represents two ideas Google has been pursuing: ensuring that it is the primary tool people use for their daily location needs; and secondly, making sure that when it comes to apps, its users don’t need to leave the walled garden it’s expanding.

A recent example of how Google is building an extensive walled garden around its Maps app, consider the closer integration with ride-hailing services.

Last week, Google Maps began offering in-map views of nearby available car-hails as well as background on planned destinations, including reviews, articles, restaurant menus.

When a user opens Google Maps’ “ride services mode,” instead of a static list of ride hailing providers, they’ll see the regular Google Maps image adorned with a carousel of ride service providers nearby. A tap on either Uber, Lyft, Juno, Gett, or another on-demand ride brand presents a full list of hailing options. Google Maps is also letting those services include special offers or promotions.

In addition to in-map views of nearby cars as well as background on planned destinations, including reviews, articles, restaurant menus.

As Google faces stepped up challenges to its mapping dominance, the ability to keep users inside its own branded apps is increasingly valuable to Google as it seeks to draw more consumers to its inventory ads and its connected home products.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.