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How Intuitive Search Will Influence Physical Experiences



Google has added features to its Maps software that allow people to personalize routes to multiple destinations and search tools to manage flight, hotel, restaurant reservations, and events. Some of these features were rolled into its search engine in August. The features began rolling out Wednesday.

The multiple destination tools allow users to plot multiple destinations for trips, which is available for driving, walking and biking directions. After entering the starting point clicking on the '+' lets users add stops to the route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map. 

When it comes to reservations, consumers can find their flight, hotel and restaurant plans within Maps by searching for the departing airport or dining destination. This feature, which works similarly to Google search, pulls information from users' Gmail, Google Calendar and Google+ accounts when signed in to Google.

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Map users also can search for upcoming events at venues, even without a reservation. Users can search for "L.A. Live," and a card serves up schedule of concerts, sporting events and more.

Expect Maps and similar location services to become more intuitive as Google and Microsoft build search technology and analytics into operating systems. A few related topics that Forrester Research Senior Analyst Tony Costa will work on in 2014 to educate marketers will also emerge.

At the Forrester Research Customer Experience conference in Los Angeles, Costa said next year marketers can expect to see more research around how digital can improve the physical experience through location analytics. "If you think about how analytics helps marketers understand customers online, now you can move that into physical environments to understand how consumers interact in stores such as where they go, what they buy, and the length of time they dwell in a specific spot," he said. "There's a tie in to omnichannel attribution. It's not just about sending ads to people, but more about how many of those ads prompt a visit to a store."

Costa said it's almost like the phone and its digital location data becomes the cookie in the physical world.

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