Google Now Is Connecting Indoor Mapping To Inventory Ads

The Android and iOS app is also providing details on deals and return policies.

Google Now, the all-in-one mobile app, has gotten even more granular when it comes to offering local businesses more avenues to direct users to their store shelves for a specific product.

The search app, which is available on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems, collects and displays virtual “cards” and “anticipates” everything from how long it will take get to work to when a user should leave for a dinner reservation, is now featuring Google Inventory Ads with features that are similarly knowing.

As Search Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz has pointed out, Google Now can tell when you’re heading to a shop after a user seeks directions on Google Maps. From there, it’s alert to when you arrive at the shop. The app can then present images of specific products and even provide an indoor map of the store to get you to the right shelf.

A Google Now search encounters an Inventory Ad for REI.
A Google Now search encounters an Inventory Ad for REI.

In a sense, Google Now is the ultimate store representative by informing the user of store return policies and available discounts.

While Google offered some of these details at last week’s Performance Summit, which discussed the tighter integration of Google Maps and Google Inventory Ads, these features can also be traced to last year’s Google I/O developer conference.

“We want to proactively bring you the answers even before you look for them,” said Aparna Chennapragada, Google Now’s product director, during the I/O presentation in May 2015. “It’s not [about listings on a map], but it’s about when places are busy, when are they open, and what are you likely to need when you’re there?”

That ethos has inspired the latest additions.

“When a consumer shops at REI, it is a smaller and smaller group that shops ‘only’ in the store or ‘only’ online,” said Annie Zipfel, outdoor enthusiast retailer REI’s SVP of Marketing, in a video discussing Google Inventory Ads’ update. “They’re often researching products online, which could be on their desktop, their tablet. And then they seek us out by using their phone. Google’s Local Inventory Ad has really helped us help customer find what they’re looking for by having it all surface in a local search.”

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.