Google Maps Platform, which API to choose?

Google Maps Platform

Many new customer focussed companies who are succeeding in the international market share one characteristic: they have created business models thanks to Google Maps Platform APIs. The apps and websites of these companies naturally integrate geolocalisation to offer their services and products in an agile and precise way. In view of the success of these organisations, many other businesses from more traditional sectors (for example, retail or tourism) or less customer focussed (for example, the chemical or pharmaceutical industry) are integrating Google Maps Platform in their activity.

Google Maps Platfom

Google Maps Platform APIs, at the service of your business’ geolocalisation.

In 2018 Google presented Google Maps Platform, regrouping 18 Google Maps APIs that existed until then into three categories:

  • Maps. Groups together the APIs which facilitate the development of personal and agile experiences through the representation of the real world both in static and dynamic maps. It also includes Street View imagery and 360 degree views.
  • Routes. Groups the APIs to develop applications which show users how to get from A to B. In the design of the itinerary they take multiple variables into account, high quality directions and real time traffic updates.
  • Places. Contains APIs which take advantage of the rich data from more than 100 million places to develop applications which enable users to find specific locations using telephone numbers, addresses and real-time signals.

These three categories of  Google Maps APIs enable a company’s information to be superimposed onto a customised map, facilitating the creation of web and mobile applications which are supported by resources such as:

  • Satellite images
  • Street View / Business views
  • Altitude levels
  • Traffic directions
  • Simplified maps
  • Demographic information
  • Data analysis
  • Database of locations
  • Etc.

Which Google Maps API fits better with each type of activity?

To make an investment in Google Maps Platform suited to each business, it is necessary to know precisely which APIs best meet their needs and characteristics. In this article we try to provide some examples linking Google Maps Platform APIs to different sectors of activity.

One of the sectors which makes best use of these APIs is that of after-sales services (support and maintenance), as shown in the success story of Task4work. In this sector, the most notable APIs are:

  • Distance matrix. It facilitates the allocation of tasks to the best qualified technician who is closest to where the incidence occurs. It also indicates the route they should take depending on the traffic conditions.
  • Directions. Among other things, it calculates the technician’s travel time according to historic and current traffic conditions. This way, it optimises the technicians’ route and improves their productivity.
  • Places autocomplete. It offers predictions based on the location, anticipating the words typed into the search.
  • Geocoding. It facilitates the geopositioning of the device that the warning comes from. To do so, it turns the specified address into geographical coordinates, to insert markers or position the map. 

In the case of the Retail sector, the Google Maps Platform APIs which are most useful are:

  • Geofencing. This API facilitates the definition of perimeters or virtual fences around an area that we consider of interest. The app the business has developed with this API receives a notification when a geolocated device passes through the perimeter, being able to trigger actions to execute on this device. For more information, in a previous article on this blog we already discussed the benefits of geofencing thanks to Google Maps.
  • Nearby notifications. Through this API, developers can associate their website or app with beacons, to offer low priority notifications when they are detected by nearby devices. These are features of interest for enclosed spaces, which enables indoor navigation, also covered in this blog.

The Google Maps Platform APIs also offer great possibilities to estate agents. Some of the APIs which best meet their needs are:

  • Dynamics maps: enables the promoter’s sales force and customers to find properties in the portfolio (for sale and rental), even limiting the search area.
  • Distance Matrix: facilitates the sales force of the estate agents in optimising their viewing times by travelling to each property using the fastest route, and it can even tell the customer the length of the journey from their current location to the property.

Another sector that takes real advantage of Google Maps Platform APIs is that of transport and logistics services, as we also show in Parlick success story. The most popular APIs in this sector are:

  • Fleet management, with the Geocoding, Distance Matrix and Directions APIs. Thanks to these, they can know where their vehicles are at all times and control their journeys in real time, optimising the routes according to the traffic thanks to the Directions API.
  • Shared journeys and occasional transport: Directions, Distance Matrix and Places Autocomplete. These APIs enable apps to offer precise information in real time about the duration of a journey, estimated time of collection of the passenger, estimated duration and distance of the journey, estimated fee, etc. By offering updated information about traffic conditions, heavy traffic and traffic jams can be avoided. Finally, the autocomplete feature of Places enables users to enter the exact destination address easily, saving time and typing errors.

For the tourism sector (hotels, travel agent’s, etc.) some of the Google Maps Platform APIs which fit best are:

  • Places Complete: it optimises the search for accommodation and tourist establishments, facilitating the user in narrowing down the search thanks to a drop down list which limits the search to establishments in this area.
  • Instructions: it offers the estimated distance and time of the journey from the location at that moment to the establishment or selected destination.
  • Nearby places: it suggests the places of interest close to the user’s current location, which enables tourist establishments to improve their customers’ user experience.

In terms of the Banking and insurance sector, the Google Maps Platform APIs enable these organisations to offer interesting added value services. The APIs which fit best are:

  • Dynamics maps: thanks to this API, the apps or websites of businesses in the sector enable users to find the branch of a bank or the cash machine more quickly.
  • Distance Matrix: enables banking and financial institutions to assign a request for their services/products (cards, loans, etc.) to the office or branch which is closest to the user. Likewise, insurance companies improve their roadside assistance service and help the user to know how long it will take a recovery vehicle to reach their location.

As you can see, the possibilities of Google Maps Platform APIs are huge in businesses in any sector of activity.

At Intelligence Partner, as premier partners of Google, we have a group of experts in Google Maps Platform who are up to date with all of the latest news about this tool and the APIs that are associated with it.

Tell us about your needs and we will show you how this geolocation tool and its APIs can benefit your business.

Let’s talk!

I would like to receive more information