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Google Maps adds a mini social network with Follow button for businesses

Google has been blitzing Maps users with new features lately. In the last couple of months alone, the company has outed the shared ETA feature on iOS, the ability to see your bus on a live map and a group planning tool that lets friends vote on a shortlist of restaurants.

The company is at it again this week with a new option for users to follow their favourite local businesses. The update, which arrives on the Android app today, will provide patrons with the latest news from those businesses in the For You tab.

So, you’ll know if your favourite clothing store is holding a sale, or when your regular watering hole has your favourite craft beer back on tap.

What Google has concocted here is essentially a mini social network, which gives businesses an opportunity to broadcast updates to followers as they would via their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Google even says businesses that haven’t even opened yet will have their own profiles, featuring the opening date in orange.

In a blog post this week, Google writes: “Those using Google Maps for Android can now follow places right from the app. Rolling out now, just search for that coffee shop you love or that clothing store you’ve been meaning to pop into and tap the “Follow” button. Once you’ve followed places, news from them—like events, offers and other updates—will appear in the For you tab (where available, with more countries coming soon!).

“And for those of you who want to be in the know about all the new places opening around town, you’ll start seeing profiles for places before they even open on Google Maps for Android and mobile search—just look for the opening date in orange.”

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Google is advising new businesses to jump on board and set up a My Business page now. There’s no news on when Google plans to offer the feature to iOS users, but it’s unlikely to be far behind.

Do you think you’ll end up following your favourite local hotspots on Google Maps? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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