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22 October, 2014

Apple launches it’s own maps portal – finally!

Apple has had a maps program available on the iOS devices for a couple of years and when it was released it was widely criticised. While it looked great, it had next to useless info in it. And trying to get the info that was in it fixed relied on using the “report a problem” which took anywhere around one month to more than a year to flow through.

Not exactly what a local business needs in terms of self-service…

Finally, today (or rather yesterday because it’s in the US) Apple released self-serve local business listings portal, called Maps Connect.

Like Google My Business, the service is free. And like the big G, Apple want you to have an identity with them – to use the service you’ll need to use your apple ID. If you don’t have one, you get to make one.

Signing up is easy –
Go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com & log in.
apple maps connect portal

You’ll see a screen similar to thisapple maps connect home page
(If you’re not US based, scroll down the page a bit, it’s still worth reading)

Next, you’ll get the chance to search for your business

If your business is found, you can select it from the list that displays and edit. If it’s not found, you get the gong…
maps connect no business found

Not in the USA?

Sadly if you live in Australia, UK, Canada or anywhere outside the US, it’s not available yet. You can, however get notified by Apple when it becomes available to the rest of us. I’m hoping they roll this out quickly.
apple maps australia

edit page for apple mapsI have been able to find Australian businesses in the maps, but am not yet able to edit them.
In the record I can see:

  • business name
  • phone in full international format (not very friendly) eg 61395858845
  • categories
  • address
  • operating hours

The more details section contains a link to

  • the website and
  • yelp page (Hint, hint, get your Yelp page claimed and updated quickly!)
  • Facebook page
  • Twitter page

The USA version of this page allows you to claim the business, and also shows a map with a pin. Reports say the editing process is a little buggy at the moment, the system crashes or locks up on occasion. And waiting for call verification can take half an hour or so. My bet is Apple had no idea they would be this busy and they’re struggling with peak periods.

So why all the fuss about apple maps?  Simple – iOS market share.  How many people use their iPhones to get them from point A to point B.  How many people say “Siri take me to…”  Wouldn’t it be good for you to be found easily by Siri and allow your customers to find your store easily?