With profiles support and follow button, Google Maps is turning into a social network where travellers or locals connect to each other.
Google has always wanted to have its own social network and compete face to face with Twitter and Facebook, but the company has never succeeded. It was close to achieving it with Google+, but the reality is that users never used the platform -although they were practically forced to create an account if they wanted to use any other Google product- and in the end ended up closing it last year after scandals of security.
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Other social attempts did not achieve the expected success either, but perhaps Google is now finding a way to have at least one product with social network overtones: Google Maps.
Google Maps, the 15-year-old navigation app of the search giant can now be used to fully organize a vacation, could be the company’s next kind of ‘social network’.
Mainly, because Google Maps – which has many hidden tricks and functionalities – has just added a tool that turns it, by definition, into a social network, a platform where users follow each other. In other words, Google Maps allows you to follow other users and see the activity that they carry out publicly in the application.
Now you can follow your friends to know what route they take or what comments they leave about certain places on the map, if they do it publicly.
The new features of Google Maps that turn it into a kind of a social network
Google already allowed, since last year and on an experimental basis, to follow the Local Guides that offered advice and improved the user experience in each locality. However, now the functionality is extended to other users, who can follow whoever they want on Google Maps.
Users who have shared photos, reviews or lists publicly will become, as of today, users potentially followed by other users. They will also have their own profile, which resemble those of other social networks. In fact, the number of followers they have is shown and there is even a “follow” button. In addition, although there is no bio as such, the topics on which the user usually posts more on Google Maps will be displayed.
When the follow button is pressed, users will also see their new publications, recommendations … and other elements, in the new “Updates” tab that already appears in the Google Maps mobile application.
Users will always be able to put their profiles as “restricted” or hidden, so that each time they receive a follow-up request they have to manually approve it, accepting or rejecting it as they wish.