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Google Inc. has been pushing out updates to several of its major products as of late – Android, Gmail, search – so the big update that came to its Maps product may have gone unnoticed.

But along with a cleaner, brighter look to the web application that we all rely on to get from point A to B, there are a few other functional changes that are relevant to know about for local businesses. Forbes highlights a few of them in an article that goes deep into the Google Maps retooling:

  • Reservations to restaurants can now be made directly from Maps, via the OpenTable web service. While OpenTable was already the de facto system for online reservations, this will give it another boost and make it even more desirable to support for restaurants. The chances of someone skipping your restaurant because another one next door offers instant reservations seem pretty good.
  • For users that also have the Uber app installed on their smartphones will be able to get an estimated cost to a destination right on the map. You could imagine certain businesses taking advantage of this by offering discount codes on Uber to get you in the door.
  • Expect to see other similar partnerships with these sort of information or utility-type services as Google seeks to be the way you connect with all sorts of local shops and services.

Charting your course with Maps

For businesses that haven’t already taken the time to fill out all the details possible about their business on Google Local, Yelp, and every other type of listing service under the sun, this is even more reason to do so. Maps is a very well-used tool that will drive adoption of these other services.

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