Apple announced a big update to Apple Maps on Wednesday that will add new photos, buttons and promotions to the app on business pages.
The move will encourage Apple Maps users to seek more than just directions by offering new information and photos about business locations. It’s the latest example of competition between Apple Maps and Google Maps, the latter of which has robust tools to allow businesses to edit and add information to their profiles.
For users, business pages that come up when you search for a location in the app will offer more interactive features. For example, businesses on Apple Maps can now display a “Showcase,” or a module with a big picture and the ability to highlight deals or limited-time promotions.
Apple Maps will also let businesses add buttons to the top of their profile to let people order or make reservations.
The additional map information will also be used in Siri and other Apple software.
For businesses that maintain Apple Maps pages, Apple’s announcement includes a new web app called Business Connect that lets businesses claim their location, edit details like whether they take credit cards or not, update photos and logos, and offer special discounts and promotions.
Big companies often manage digital map listings with software like Yext or Reputation, and those will integrate with Apple’s new system.
Apple is also introducing a new dashboard for business owners that tracks metrics like how customers are landing on their Apple Maps page and what they’re interacting with, similar to dashboards for measuring search engine optimization.
The features are free for businesses and Apple isn’t selling ad units in maps.
Here are some changes coming to the Apple Maps app:
Here’s one example of the new Apple Maps pages, with big photos right underneath the hours, and a button toward the top to allow users to book a reservation.
Businesses can also edit the ‘About’ page on a location and integrate with Apple’s business chat software.
Users will see these updates on their iPhones, but some of the new features require individual businesses to configure their pages. Businesses can claim and manage their Apple Maps page through a new web app.