#23mobilethings – 4. Maps

orange-pin-hi

For this topic I’m gonna talk about how Google maps applies to libraries.

Google crawls the web and various directories to populate Google Maps with places and landmarks. Most libraries will be a searchable “destination” in Google maps with name and address information. You don’t need to take any action to create this listing- it’s made from information extracted from web pages plus user contributions. You can “claim this business” so you control what information gets displayed. Or anyone can suggest edits to the information. I once made a suggestion to change the name of our library when the name Google’s listing gave us was far too similar to a local public library – we would get many phone calls from people who wanted the other library. Sometimes people would pull up driving directions from Google Maps and drive to our library – not even realizing that they were going to the wrong place! This problem has very much subsided since I fixed the name. It goes to show that people don’t usually go past Google for directional information like phone numbers and addresses. Not even to the relevant website, just the Google search results page, with information pulled from Google Maps. So it’s important to check your presence there. Adding photos, opening hours and other details will be notoced, too.

Another interesting thing is that if you have “location services” enabled it will track your every move on your smartphone. A new feature I noticed a few months ago is that it will use this information from users to create something like this:

 This can be pretty handy for clients if they want to come when it’s quiet. I’ve heard Google are working on a “live” version of this too so people can see how busy a location is right now.