I began a summer road trip with my daughters yesterday; driving cross-country to deliver a car to a friend, show the girls the country and see the sites. Well planned for the trip, I have loaded the Toyota Prius with loads of electronics. Most important of these items were my Google Maps equipped Palm Treo 700P and my TomTom Bluetooth GPS Unit .
The purpose of this critical combo was to help me find where in the world I was when I when in a navigational panic. Yes – a GPS would be nice but not in my budget of under $100 and without subscription fees. Besides – I use Google Maps via my Sprint data enabled Treo phone daily – the GPS maps and detail on the units I tested under $400 just do not compare (see the FC March GPS review). I love the ability to complete these Google Map searches in familiar cities and neighborhoods to find the nearest coffee, burrito or whatever faster then searching traditionally via 411 or mobile Google search itself.
Now armed with my makeshift GPS I am able to use my trusty Goolge Maps Mobile in route from Atlanta to Los Angels. After two days the road and out of my familiar “urban saturated” map results, I have found a complete lack my marketing effort by many travel friendly business like hotels and restaurants to better enable search results on the maps. For example, searching for a Hilton Hotel in Arkansas should bring up any of the family of hotels within the Hilton group. This is not the case. Business both large and small can better detail there service offering via the Google Local Business Center or take it to the next level with extending a Paid Search campaign with Local Business Ads to standout in very competitive markets. Of course these techniques are not limited to a Treo and Google – try a search on your mobile and other search engine and map like Yahoo! Mobile or MSN Mobile. The integration of mobile GPS, mapping and this growing area of local search is a great opportunity for marketers and business owners to localize and personalize their place on the map. Have you placed your mark on the map yet?