Lab Weekly: Google My Business, Google Maps & Social

Phoebe Skinner

Project Coordinator
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This week in #TheLab has been a quiet one, Google turned 18 this week and with this came a Penguin algorithm update which we covered in a previous blog here. On Thursday Jess went to a networking event and enjoyed talking to like minded business people and learning about how different businesses work. Preparations for Lab Live are well underway, there are only a few tickets left so be sure to get them while you still can! In Lab Weekly we discuss a huge change for Snapchat, updates to Google My Business and Google Maps.
Google My Business Update and New Google News ‘Lite’ Mode
Google My Business has just updated to 3.1 which has added a few new features allowing businesses to quickly update their Google Maps listings.

  • Location status – You will now be informed if your listing is published, pending or disabled
  • Notifications – You are now able to subscribe to receive push notifications when you receive new reviews
  • Attributes – Support for URL and Enum attributes
  • Maps URLs – Have access to Google Maps URLs for verified locations
  • Identify – Identify which businesses can be reopened vs those that can’t

Google News ‘Lite’ Mode
Not only did Google update Google My business but they have announced a Google News ‘Lite’ mode for users with slow internet connections, which is currently only available in India, however, Google had this to say “rolling this out to other countries in emerging markets in the coming months.”
This new ‘Lite’ mode will make images smaller and trim down most components except for the headline in order to speed it up, Google has said that it will use less than one-third of the data.
Google Maps Adds Voice Command for Hands Free Directions
Google have announced this week that they have updated the Google Maps app now allowing you to say “Ok Google”  which activates the voice search. As well as this feature Google have also added a range of new voice commands within the Google Maps app. Some of the commands are listed below:

  • “Mute” & “unmute”
  • “Show traffic” or “hide traffic”
  • “Navigate home” or “Navigate to destination”
  • “What’s my ETA”
  • “Avoid ferries”
  • “Exit navigation”

As well as these fantastic driving based commands Google have also added a few more commands, listed below.

  • “Call Mum”
  • “Find petrol stations”
  • “What’s the weather like?”
  • “Where’s the closest hotel?”
  • “When’s my next meeting?”

To be able to use this feature you need to make sure you have the latest version of the app and then simply tap the overflow menu, tap “settings” and then finally tap “Ok Google”.
Not only has Snapchat renamed itself to Snap Inc., claiming on the new website that they are a camera company, but they have also announced their new ‘Spectacles’. The glasses have built in cameras which allows users to record 10 second videos which will link to Snapchat via either Bluetooth or WiFi. By simply tapping the button on the frame, users are recording and a circle of blue lights around the cameras indicate to others that it is recording. With 115 degree angle lens, the videos will show up full screen in any orientation on any device. The glasses can be recharged in their case and will cost around £100, there will be three colours available, coral, black, and teal. There is not a specific release date for the glasses, with their own website and other siting that they will arrive soon.

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