In this week’s update, learn about Apple’s new navigation features and other iOS14 updates; Google’s expansion of free product listings; changes in GMB hours updates; TripAdvisor’s attributes for health and safety; new “Black-owned” attributes from Google and Yelp; a new carousel display in Google Maps; and the beginning of CCPA enforcement.
Apple adds navigation features and quicker paths to engagement
As announced at the recent WWDC event, Apple will roll out its revamped version of Apple Maps this year to new markets, including the UK, Ireland, and Canada. The updated Apple Maps utilizes data captured with Apple’s camera-equipped cars in order to enrich the detail and accuracy of roads, parking lots, parks, and buildings.
In addition, Apple has announced several Maps upgrades designed to improve the navigation experience, such as directions for cyclists and routing for electric vehicles that identifies the locations of en route charging stations. Apple is also unveiling a service roughly comparable to Google’s Local Guides: Apple’s new Guides highlight popular destinations and recommended restaurants in various cities, though unlike Google, Apple is sourcing its recommendations not from users but from trusted sources like Time Out and the Washington Post.
Finally, a new feature in iOS14 will make it easier for consumers to engage with businesses. Apple’s new App Clips will launch a specific function within an app, triggered by scanning a code or clicking a link. With App Clips, iPhone users will be able to quickly complete transactions such as buying coffee or renting a scooter.
Routing for electric vehicles, courtesy Apple
Google expands reach of free product listings
Google has announced that free listings in Google Shopping will now begin appearing in search. First announced in April, this free service allows any business to upload a product feed in Google Shopping and have products showcased to users. Previously, these results only appeared within the Google Shopping interface.
Now, Google says it is “bringing free listings to the main Google Search results page in the U.S., helping shoppers choose the products and sellers that will serve them best, from the widest variety of options." Paid product listings will still be featured more prominently than free listings.
Free product listings will appear this summer in the U.S., first on mobile devices and then on desktop. A new type of knowledge panel will appear when users search for specific products; free listings will be eligible to appear in these knowledge panels so that users can connect to retailers offering the product. Google has a help page outlining these offerings.
Changing your GMB hours will now create a post
Google has updated the help page entitled “Edit your Business Profile on Google” with a new paragraph in the section about hours of operation, as follows: “After you update your hours or reopen your business, customers who visit your Business Profile will find a message that confirms your recent update. The update also creates a post that confirms you made an hours change. This post shows up on the Updates tab of your profile on mobile devices. You can edit the post to give more information about your updated hours. To remove the hours update message and the post, delete the associated post from Google My Business.”
Thus far, hours updates do not seem to be triggering public posts, so it appears this feature has not yet been completely rolled out. However, in the GMB dashboard, business owners will see that a post about updated hours is available for editing.
TripAdvisor releases full list of health and safety attributes for restaurants
Last week, I reported that TripAdvisor was preparing a new set of attributes so that restaurants and hotels could indicate the health and safety practices they are following. Businesses with claimed TripAdvisor profiles are now able to edit these attributes, and we’ve received a confirmed set of attributes for restaurants from our contacts at TripAdvisor. They are as follows:
- Face masks required for staff in public areas
- Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
- Regular temperature checks for staff
- Socially distanced dining tables
- Staff required to regularly wash hands
- Tables disinfected between guests
- Single-use or sanitized menus
- Face masks required for guests in public areas
- Floors marked for social distancing
- Single-use/individually wrapped condiments
- Contactless ordering
- Contactless payment
- Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
- Reservations & call-ahead seating only
With this update, TripAdvisor joins Yelp in providing a comprehensive set of health and safety details so that participating businesses can reassure consumers that stringent practices are in place. Recent surveys, conducted by TripAdvisor and others, have indicated that customers contemplating a return to restaurant dining have high expectations when it comes to health and safety practices.
Google and Yelp release attributes identifying Black-owned businesses
We’ve detected a new attribute, currently only available in the Google My Business API, whereby business owners will be able to indicate Black ownership. This new “Black-owned” attribute appears alongside attributes like “Veteran-led” and “Women-led” in the “Highlights” attributes subset. Currently, the “Black-owned” attribute does not appear in the GMB dashboard.
Similarly, Yelp has released its own “Black-owned” attribute, supported by a “Support Black-owned businesses” callout that is prominently featured when users launch the Yelp app on mobile devices.
Yelp’s new “Black-owned” attribute in restaurant listings
New carousel display in Google Maps on desktop
Andy Simpson has spotted an interesting new carousel display of business listings in Google Maps on desktop devices. The carousel appears when the user navigates to a specific listing, highlighting its business profile. At the bottom of the page, beneath the map, the carousel offers access to alternative businesses that are similar to the one selected. Though this is clearly a test and is difficult to reproduce, it indicates that Google is continuing to experiment with image-based listing content in various guises.
Alternate listings carousel in Google Maps, courtesy Andy Simpson
CCPA enforcement has begun
As of July 1, California will begin to enforce the provisions of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a law that went into effect on January 1. The law expands the rights of California citizens in regard to the protection of their privacy when they interact with companies doing business in the state. Under CCPA, California citizens may request a report of any personal information a company may have on file. Citizens may also request that all personal information be deleted, and that companies not sell personal information to third parties.
Throughout 2019 and the first half of 2020, companies impacted by CCPA have been working to enhance security practices and add provisions specific to the new regulation, such as a page on company websites allowing consumers to make CCPA requests. Still, the interruption of the coronavirus pandemic as well as ambiguities in the law have created an aura of suspense around the new regulations. It’s still unclear whether CCPA will create a major disruption in the practice of companies that rely on consumer data in industries like digital advertising.