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New Google Maps Available to All

The newest version of Google Maps was an invite only affair until yesterday. Now anyone can opt-in to get the new map experience.

If you haven’t seen what this latest version looks like and does here is the video from May that Google put together.

And for you iOS users out there 9 to 5 Mac reports

In line with last week’s expectations of an updated Google Maps app, Google has begun rolling out version 2.0 of Google Maps for iOS today. Most notably, the new application includes support for the large touch screens found on the iPad and iPad mini.

Of course, not everyone in the comments section of this post is happy (shocker!) as the update requires iOS 6. You can read more about it here at the Google Lat Long blog.

New Google Maps App for Android Becoming Available

Google will be releasing its new Maps app for Android over the next however long. It looks cool but it brings to mind just how backwards the company can be sometimes with regard to its new bread and butter: Android users.

You see, this simple statement from the Google Latlong blog announcing this ‘new’ release says a lot.

The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design we released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few useful search and navigation features. And it’s the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. We’re also retiring Latitude and are making some changes to offline and My Maps

In its attempt to continue to fight Apple on its iOS battlefield, Android users got pushed to the back of the bus for six months. Well, the wait is over. Here is a video showing how someone might land in a city with nothing to do and then have something to do. It’s very realistic since most folks fly places with no plans all the time.

Engadget summarizes the improvements with this

Yelp Wordmap Helps Find Hot Spots In Local Scenes

Yelp has come up with an interesting way to identify patterns in reviews in 14 cities world wide.

It’s called Wordmap. You can look for words like noodles, pricey, pbr, kosher and more (it is a static list so don’t get too excited about the options here). A heat map is rendered based on density of the keywords in reviews in the city.

We thought we would give it spin. Our choice was looking at the word ‘bacon’ in Washington DC. Interestingly enough there is a concentration for the word around the White House and the Capitol building so it looks like this works pretty well. (Just think about it for a minute. Bacon… pork … DC).

Yelp Wordmap DC Bacon

Interesting? Useful? Gimmick? What’s your take?

The Ultimate in Local: NYC To Be One of First Cities With Own Top Level Domain

Leave it to New York City to do something bigger and better than the rest (at least in their minds so we’ll all just play along like usual).

This time it’s the announcement by Mayor Michael Bloomberg via his Twitter account (while sipping a 32 oz. Coke) that NYC will be offering its residents and businesses a chance to get a .NYC domain

The website that gives more information about the program points out

How Are SMB’s Using the Digital Space?

The main reason this post has been put together is based on an experience I had literally this morning while talking to a small business owner. While we (as in the online marketing industry) talk about all the advancements and opportunities that await SMB’s in the online space we often forget to integrate the human factor into the equation. In other words, we can talk until we are blue in the face about the right things to do regarding Internet marketing and the right options for SMB’s to invest in but unless we can magically add hours to the day these sermons may be falling on ears that are not deaf but simply overwhelmed.

A recent study from Vocus and Inc Magazine revealed what tactics SMB’s are turning to the most and the results show that the vast majority are getting by with the bare minimum.

SMB's Digital Marketing Choices

Everyone would agree that a well thought out website with clear calls to action is the foundation of any strong Internet or online marketing strategy. What happens quite a bit, however, is that the business owner is also the marketing department and can be the customer service department and the list goes on. As a result, this is often all they can handle.

Did You Move? Yahoo’s LocalWorks will Correct Your Address All Over the Web

yext missing listingAccording to a 2012 study by Yext, $10.3 billion in annual offline sales are potentially lost from missing or incorrect information online.

In my own travels I’ve seen profiles with old addresses, wrong phone numbers and dozens of mentions with the wrong hours. If your Google listing says you’re open until 5 on Sunday and I come at 4 and you’re closed, I’m not coming back.

The upside of the internet is that information spreads quickly. The downside of the internet is that information spreads quickly. If you move to a new location, updating every company mention on the web is impossible. But now, thanks to Yahoo, you can make a dent in the bad data.

Google’s Local Search Carousel Comes to Desktop

Local search, especially for restaurants, is getting much more interesting as Google rolls out its local search ‘carousel’ to desktop search. It is available in English in the US only for now.

Basically, how one ranks in the carousel will be the new ‘victory’ for local search. The post on Google+ announcing the update tells us

Starting today, when you search Google for restaurants, bars or other local places on your desktop, you’ll see an interactive “carousel” of local results at the top of the page.

Give it a go—type or say “mexican restaurants,” or try any similar search for restaurants, bars or hotels. Click on one of the places in the carousel to get more details on it, including its overall review-based score, address and photos. If you want to see more places, click the arrow at the right of the carousel. And you can zoom in on the map that appears below the carousel to restrict your search to only places in a specific area.

While some iPad and Nexus tablet users have seen this new look since December, we’re excited to expand to desktop. The interactive “carousel” is rolling out in English in the U.S.—we’ll add more features and languages over time.

Take a look for a search I did in Raleigh.

Google Local Search Carousel for Restaurants