Many of us in the metros now order food with the help of an app like JustDial or Zomato, trusting their reviews and resources to decide what to order. But these players now find competition from Google itself, with the latest release of Google Maps for desktop bringing in restaurant search along with a host of other features.
While the listings are not available across the country, we found that the maps were very effective in Delhi. A simple ‘ITO Restaurant’ search will now show you the best restaurant in the area, along with the rating and photos of the business. However, Zomato still has an edge as Google is not showing menus. That isn’t what they want to do.
“The new Google maps wants to become a tool to help you take decisions. We want the search to happen contextually. The map should be able to understand what you want at a point of time and adapt accordingly,” explained Suren Ruhela, Director and Product Manager, India at Google Maps.
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Maps now aggregates photos of the location, along with reviews and ratings to give the user much more than before. Coupled with indoor maps, which Google launched for about 75 properties across India, the maps will now even tell you on which floor a business is located.
And it is not just about businesses. A lot of places of interest and monuments now come with a see inside options that let you explore these locations without being physically present. “Google’s Streetview technology has multiple uses. One is the 360-degree view of the monuments, which is a great way of leveraging the technology,” says Ruhela, adding that schools for instance will now be able to show students the real Taj Mahal or Qutub Minar without limiting them to just explaining the features of the monument.
Ruhela says businesses can also use this technology to showcase their property online. “People are no longer happy with a simple website or a number, they need more,” he said.
Google has appointed certified photo agencies across the country to help businesses publish panoramic views of their properties. The tech giant thinks this will be particularly effective in case of large properties and other institutions like hospitals and malls.