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Did Google Maps just become a messaging app?

Message businesses from Google Maps

Google Maps is a great way to find businesses, shops, and services that you may need to use for whatever reason. All you have to do is search for something like a bakery and then Maps will show you pins indicating all of the bakeries found in the area of the map you are looking at. These pins contain a lot of relevant information and even contact details, but now Google wants to open up a new and easier pathway to connect with the businesses you need right there in the Google Maps app.

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Google Maps will soon have a “Messages tab” for contacting businesses

Until now, if the business had registered a phone number on the internet, Google would offer the chance to call the business from within Google Maps. All this does is open up your caller app and enter the phone number into it. You still have to place the call yourself and need to use minutes from your cell plan to pay for it. When the new Google Maps update rolls out, this will no longer be the case. You’ll still be able to make calls that way, but there’ll be an easier solution available.

Once you receive the update on your phone, you’ll see a message button on every business that has enabled messages. Tapping this button will open a chat and then you’ll be able to chat with them as you would on any other messaging app.

Once you’ve started messaging businesses from Google Maps, you’ll see a brand new tab when you open up the Google Maps settings menu. Fourth down in the list, just below Your contributions, you’ll see the Messages button. Unsurprisingly, this is where you will find all of the correspondence you’ve been keeping with businesses through Google Maps.

This is a big announcement for Google Maps that puts it in clear competition with WhatsApp’s new app, WhatsApp Business. WhatsApp Business is the latest way that WhatsApp is trying to capitalize on its massive user base.

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Although it offers an effective way to communicate with customers, it charges business users rates that are comparable to regular SMS charges to contact them. As well as offering a comprehensive maps service to allow people to visualize each business location, there is no mention of a charge for businesses to use the service. This competition between WhatsApp and Google Maps could get interesting.

Business owners looking to take advantage of the Google Maps business messaging service should download the new Google My Business app.

 

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