Skift Take

Google Maps is plotting a clear course in the direction of becoming a superapp for travel and dining. We’ll continue to track the trend closely.

Google Maps has updated its desktop and mobile app versions to add filters for its hotel search functionality. Users can now search properties to find ones with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a gym, and a pool, and to see if they are pet-friendly or kid-friendly and have services like free breakfast or a gym.

The interface differs between the desktop browser version and the app versions for Apple and Android devices. In the browser-based view, users need to click the phrase “more options” to see the additional filters. Users of iOS devices can type a phrase like “San Francisco kid friendly,” for example, to see filtered results in a particular neighborhood.

The functionality debuted Tuesday in many markets. It underscores a broader trend in Google Maps becoming ready to morph into a superapp, as outlined in a Skift Deep Dive earlier this month.

In the past year, the Google Maps app has enhanced its functionality for searching and booking hotels, walking tours, attractions, events, and restaurant reservations, typically via third-party integrations. The desktop version enables flight booking, as Google Maps vice president of product, Dane Glasgow, noted, in our earlier interview.

More changes are in the offing. “As Google Maps gets closer and closer to capturing every building in the world, it’s likely that it will start highlighting or lighting up buildings related to queries and search results,” said Justin O’Beirne, a maps expert.

Potential Money Maker

The product is a modest money-spinner for parent company Alphabet. Skift’s reporting found that Alphabet is already generating several billion dollars annually from Google Maps.

The Maps product attracts many eyeballs and generates much user data. In recent months Google has been enabling hotels, restaurants, and other companies to buy ads that spotlight their locations or more prominently display their detailed listings when users run searches.

The product also offers licensing potential. Case in point: Uber paid $58 million in licensing fees between 2016 and 2018 to use the mapping service in its mobile apps worldwide, according to Uber’s financial filings released two weeks ago.

Get more context: Google Maps Is Ready to Transform the World of Superapps.

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Tags: google maps

Photo credit: A stylized view of Google Maps. The product has updated its desktop and mobile app versions in many markets to add filters for its hotel search functionality. Google

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