Google seeks to attract small businesses with Maps Engine Pro tool

Google has announced a new tool for businesses – Maps Engine Pro – designed to help them to create business strategies more easily by enabling map-based visualization of a plethora of information related to the functions of the company.

“By importing data like addresses, names, office locations and sales leads from various file formats onto a map, businesses can edit, analyze and share their information in a simple format,” Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Maps, said in a blog post announcing the new service.

“Google Maps Engine Pro can be as easy to use as creating a document and it gives businesses an added productivity tool to help make decisions, organize information, and plan operations using Google Maps.”

To illustrate his point that visualizing business information on a map would, for most company strategists, be preferable to staring at a data-packed spreadsheet with the same information, McClendon focuses on Pure Fix Cycles, a Burbank-based distributor of custom-made bicycles that’s been trying out the new tool “to identify sales opportunities across target markets” in an effort to expand their business in the US and beyond.

“Looking at a spreadsheet of 100 accounts on the East Coast, I would have no idea where any of them are,” says Pure Fix Cycles founder Jordan Schau. “I uploaded that spreadsheet [to Maps Engine Pro] and I can say, ‘Customer service team, check out this map. When a customer calls, send them to a store that have a lot of inventory,’ or ‘Send them to stores that order from us often.’”

google maps engine 2

From something like this….


google maps engine 1

….to something like this.

Jordan’s brother, Zach, elaborates, explaining how, if they input the relevant data, the tool can visualize on a map areas in the US where its bikes aren’t currently available. The map can be instantly shared with a rep who can then plan a round of trips to stores that might be interested in selling their product.

McClendon also announced details on various features associated with the new tool, including a new Android app (an iOS app is on its way), connector tools to help migrate data from legacy systems, and an introductory account option giving businesses the chance to try out the new tool for free. Regular use costs $5 per user, per month.

A more advanced version of the service – Maps Engine – has existed for some time, with Pro aimed primarily at smaller businesses. With so many users already comfortable finding their way around Google Maps, the Mountain View company will be hoping those running a company will be interested enough to take Maps Engine Pro for a spin as the Web giant seeks to attract more businesses to its platform.

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