15 June, 2020

Google Maps introduce 'Local Context'

Customers generally search for as much contextual information as they can about an area before they make an informed, confident decision about whether they should visit, invest or relocate to it. This could include decisions such as which hotel to book or which home to buy.

Google Maps boasts over one million points of interest, but for a business to showcase these points within their website environment takes up precious development time. 

To combat the time required for a business to configure these points of interest, Google Maps has introduced a new feature in Beta: Local Context.

Let’s dive straight in to understand the Local Context features...

What is Google Maps Local Context?

The ‘Local Context’ feature enables businesses to launch a dynamic map for a region that shows Google-curated points of interest and places information relevant to the businesses offerings. 

For example, if you own a real estate agency that wants to show off the best schools and cafes near your properties, or you manage a hotel that wants its visitors to see nearby shopping centres, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions - the Local Context feature offers an out-of-the-box solution to get this type of feature up and running with no additional development costs required.

Why has Google introduced the Local Context feature? 

Businesses can use the features offered within the Local Context API today, but the experience is broken between the businesses’ own website environment and needing to rely on using Google Maps directly to see places, reviews, photos and directions. 

Google wants to help customers stay within your website environment to help maximise your conversion from website visitor to buying customer.  

The Local Context feature enables businesses to show an area and a number of place types, such as restaurants or shops. Website visitors can have unlimited interactions with this map as the Local Context feature is priced per session - not per click. These interactions include reading place reviews, looking at pictures and finding walking directions to any of the Points of Interest, all within the website environment.

How do we get started?

Curating the points of interest relevant to your business and maintaining the API-based integration is time-consuming and takes up valuable development resources.

To show the same information from Google Maps without Local Context, businesses would use the Directions API and Nearby Search, Photos, Search and Details requests within the Places API. Local Context sits as one Javascript key that has access to the Local Context library, saving development efforts and costs.  

While in Beta, the Local Context key is free, however, Google’s Dynamic Maps is still charged at its regular price. 

To integrate the key, follow this documentation

Take Local Context for a spin and try the demo here

Want to find out more about Local Context? 

Liveli has a team dedicated to helping your business with any Google Maps related questions. They can help you understand any new features released on Google Maps, like Local Context, so that you can hit the ground running. 

Our team can also help get your mapping project off the ground, as well as offer technical and billing support for existing mapping projects.

If you want to get started using Local Context or have any mapping questions, get in touch with our team for an obligation-free chat.

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