New Google Maps - the end of Red Balloons?
by Jo Shaer, on May 29, 2013
I was really excited to receive my invitation to be part of the Beta testing for the new Google Maps last week. But I only got around to having a look at it yesterday.
So how is it different from the old Google Maps?
Well, in the normal view you have the panel at the left hand side which lists the top results for your search.
The end of the red balloons on new Google maps
In the new Google maps, that panel has gone. You just see a map with lots of red dots - some bigger than others with names underneath. These are the top results. If you hover over one of the red dots, you see a small box that tells you the number of reviews and gives an example.
Click on the link and a bigger box opens up at the top left which gives you the address, phone number, website address, opening hours and a street view. You also see the reviews and have the option to get directions or to save the venue as a favourite with a yellow star.
The end of the grey and red balloons in the top results
In the original search box, you will see the option to get the top results. Click on that and you are taken to a page that is a bit more like the results page we are used to. Businesses are listed with their information and a small picture. However, the famous grey turning red balloons have gone.
I did see some blue circles on the new Google map - paid Adwords Express listings are being included in this way.
Mike Blumenthal talks about the change of emphasis from businesses that are favoured by Google to those that are closest to your location and have the best reviews. I am not yet seeing the carousel of photographs that my American colleagues are seeing for hotel searches though.
We are told that the new Google Places for Business Dashboard is being rolled out but is currently only available to new customers who do not have a current listing. I hope to be able to test that out over the next couple of weeks. I will keep you posted.