Google Maps, a trusted ally for over 1 billion travelers every month, has just announced that it will begin harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its offerings. While these updates may seem primarily like consumer-focused enhancements, they also hold valuable lessons for tax and accounting professionals whose firms appear on Google Maps.
Let's explore how new AI-powered Google Maps features can, and likely will, impact your practice in the near future.
1. Immersive Route Planning: Better Journey Planning for Clients
Starting in select cities, Google Maps is introducing immersive route planning, allowing users to preview their routes for driving, walking, or cycling. This feature is set to offer an immersive 3D view of neighborhoods, landmarks, and businesses, providing insights into bike paths, expected traffic conditions, and potential weather issues that may arise during a specific outing.
For tax and accounting professionals, this development emphasizes the importance of engaging with Google Maps to ensure your clients can easily locate your office. Encourage clients to post reviews and images of their visits to your firm, as this will enhance your online presence and make your Google Business Profile more attractive to Google’s new AI algorithm.
2. AI-Powered Search Function: Optimize Your Digital Presence
Google Maps is also enhancing its existing search function with AI. Users will have the ability to find results based on images uploaded to Maps, text reviews, and descriptions. For tax and accounting professionals, this means that visuals matter in an industry in which aesthetics have not traditionally been top of mind.
Encourage your clients to share images of their tax prep sessions, your office space, or tax-related events at which you are speaking or exhibiting. A well-optimized Google Maps profile with images can attract potential clients searching for tax services. Google Maps VP and GM Miriam Daniel provided an example in Fast Company, noting that “a search for ‘animal latte art’ could pull up nearby coffee shops where users have uploaded photos of creatively decorated beverages.”
3. Augmented Reality With Lens: How It Could Impact Your Practice
Google Maps’ existing augmented reality feature, Lens, is expanding to more cities. Tax and accounting professionals can utilize this feature to provide real-time information about their offices, such as operating hours, services offered, and contact details. Clients in Austin, Las Vegas, Rome, Taipei, and Chicago will soon be able to use Lens to discover your practice while on the go.
Ensure that your Google Maps profile is complete and up to date – and that you have 5-star reviews coming in on a regular basis – for maximum visibility.
4. Detailed Information for Navigation: Avoid Tax Season Surprises
For professionals who meet with clients at their locations or offer other on-site services, the enhanced Google Maps navigation details may prove to be beneficial. Detailed images of buildings along the route, highway lane changes, and exit information will help ensure a smooth journey for clients who are unfamiliar with your firm’s location.
5. Always Changing, Always Informative
Google Maps thrives on constant updates, largely thanks to its sizable user community. Tax and accounting professionals can take advantage of this to stay relevant, increase visibility, and attract new clients. Encourage your current clients to share their experiences, contribute reviews, and post photos of their interactions with your practice.
As AI continues to rapidly evolve, and become increasingly important, Google Maps is key to making sure that your online presence is always up to date.
The AI-powered enhancements that Google Maps soon plans to roll out will undoubtedly impact tax and accounting firms nationwide. Engaging with Google Maps and encouraging client participation is the first line of defense against low rankings. Embrace the power of AI-enhanced navigation, search, and augmented reality to gain an edge on local competitors and stand out to prospects.