Google added a question and answer feature to its Google Maps app a few weeks ago, which is available for use on Android phone systems and mobile web browsers. If you’re not an Android user, you might be in the dark. For anyone who has yet to learn about the new addition, here’s everything you need to know about how it works and what it means for users.
Some users haven’t yet seen the feature despite it being out since mid-August. If you’re encountering this problem, make sure you’ve allowed the app to complete its latest update. The feature should become visible after you’ve enabled the update.
Even if you’ve already seen the new Q&A feature and used it to submit a question you had, it won’t send you mobile app notifications yet. Unfortunately, this goes against Google’s promise that users would be notified when their questions were answered. Many suspect it’s an error that the company is trying to fix, and hopefully, they’ll find a solution soon so users don’t have to manually check the app several times a day to see if their question has been answered.
Business owners who receive questions will need to download the Google Maps app to store and organize them. Once the app is downloaded, the owner must sign in with the account they use for their business listing to allow question alerts to come in. Questions that are submitted through Google My Business also produce notifications that are sent to Google Maps, so all business owners who use one or both of the services should have the app downloaded and active on their phones.
When a question notification is sent to the business it’s addressed to, the owner can view the name, profile, and other relevant information of the person who submitted the question. Although it isn’t included in the notification itself, it becomes visible when the owner clicks on the question. This helps combat spam and misuse of the feature.
Some questions may be simple, but business owners should make an effort to answer with more than one word. Leaving it at “yes” or “no” doesn’t give the asker any additional information and makes your company look both indifferent to its customers and unreliable overall. Include a decent amount of detail in your answers if you’re a business owner, and watch out for abuse or harassment whether you’re a business owner or a potential customer.
Google Maps allows people to upvote questions and answers. Not only do these upvotes affect how others perceive the information they’re taking in, but it also directly affects the visibility of the question that was asked. If a question or answer receives enough upvotes, it is displayed on the business’ listing so any visitor with the same question gets an answer without asking.
Because it hasn’t been out for long, it’s likely that Google will continue to adjust its Google Maps Q&A feature to make it a useful tool for business owners and curious customers alike.