The Google Maps team has announced the beta launch of Local Context. With Local Context, site and app owners can integrate the typical Google Map experience into their properties, but that experience is amplified with rich, local information (e.g. shops, restaurants, etc.). Local Context data is available for around 200 million places around the globe.
"Local info helps people make decisions on where to visit and stay, where to shop and explore, which houses to tour, and more," Ivan Passos, Google Maps Product Manager, commented in a blog post announcement. "For example, to evaluate whether a home is in a desirable neighborhood, homebuyers often switch back and forth between multiple windows–a real estate site on one window and Google Maps on another. And they repeat this process for each home they’re interested in. This can be frustrating for users and can negatively impact conversion. The new Local Context beta helps bridge that gap by quickly and easily embedding the familiar Google Maps experience into your desktop or mobile web app to provide a smoother User Experience, help users make quicker decisions, minimize site abandonment, and improve conversions."
Google has long provided such context within the Google Maps web and mobile versions. Over 1 billion users utilize the feature each month. When users access the Local Context data, they learn everything from walking distances and photos to price levels and ratings.
Local Context brings together the functionality of three separate Google API offerings (i.e. Maps, Routes, and Places). Developers can add Local Context to existing maps, or create new maps. For those adding to existing maps, the current styling will stay intact. As Local Context data changes, Google will handle the updates (no additional coding is needed).