In an effort to compete with uber map-app Google Maps, Apple Maps has unveiled a new self-service portal called Apple Maps Connect, which allows business owners to add or update their business listings. While before it was possible to report inaccurate or missing data to the mapping service, this is the first time that business owners are able to actually go in to their listings and make changes, add websites, Yelp pages, Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and more.
Having a listing on Apple Maps means that Apple’s Siri feature will be able to locate your business. This is quite significant for small businesses that don’t yet have a presence on Apple Maps, which is the pre-installed mapping application on all Apple iPhones.
Using the portal is as simple as signing up for an Apple account (if you don’t already have one), signing in to the portal, and searching for your business. All changes are verified by telephone for security purposes, and updates and changes will appear in about a week, more or less. While the feature is currently only available in the U.S., Apple plans to expand it to the global market in the near future.
No Agencies, Please
While the new self-service portal is user-friendly for local businesses, it does not lend itself to use by outside agencies for updating client information, or large businesses with multiple locations. It’s being promoted as a tool for local businesses and it’s unclear whether Apple plans to expand it for use by marketing agencies anytime soon.
Apple Rolls Out Indoor Positioning Technology
Along with the new self-service portal, Apple announced a new feature that’s being beta tested, which will allow large, high-volume businesses to map interior views of their venues in order to help users find their way around. Called “Indoor,” this new tool is only available to locations that have WiFi throughout their business and at least one million visitors annually.
These upgrades to Apple’s mapping service indicate that Apple is still actively investing in the technology, and hoping to compete with Google by crowd sourcing more of its map data, rather than simply relying on standard sources such as DigitalGlobe, TomTom, and the U.S. Government.