You may not realise it but Google has been operating a business-focused messaging service in Google Maps for a few years now that we’ve previously used to to communicate with business about opening hours and alike. Today Google has announced a re-invigoration of the platform across the web in what can only be assumed is in direct competition with the growing popularity of the Facebook-based Messenger integration.
The ‘expansion of the program’ based in Maps and Search is focused on bringing more businesses into the platform making it easier for business operators to use the features and increase community awareness and use. The expansion also launches integration for the Business Messages into existing customer service platforms, making it easier for larger brands to integrate into their existing workflows.
Locally Woolworths has been using Google’s Business Messages to communicate with customers during COVID-19 about store information, including stock availability in specific stores, which seems to include the isle location. I could have used that to find the occasional product from time to time, because the five minute chat delays is still quicker than finding an available staff member in the store.
Google is going to continue to experiment with how to further integrate Business Messages into the web including how to highlight the communication channel via Search. Google is also rolling out the ability for Business Messages to be integrated onto company websites proving a consistent and ubiquitous messaging platform.
With Google Maps being the most popular mapping service available Google has a great ability to drive adoption of their Business Messages service. However with Facebook owning the primary engagement engine of the internet, unfortunately, they also have a captive audience for their messaging platform. May the next messaging platform war commence, I predict users will be the losers.
If you’re a business owner and you want to step up your messaging game then check out the Business Messages page, there are links to tools, developers and other resources to help you get started.
If you are a business owner and you haven’t take control of your Google Maps listing then we’d highly advise you do that first, it’s free and gives you the ability to control how your business is represented on Google Maps, including replying to comments. You can sign up here.