Google has announced that local business owners can now add YouTube videos to their listings in Google Maps.
Google said that adding the capability to Google maps was a natural extension to its move last year to allow geotagged YouTube videos to run in Google Earth. Users can launch videos on Google Maps from the 'Photos and Videos' tab of the information bubble that appears when a user clicks on a listing.
"While I love watching videos on YouTube, the experience is even better for me when I can view their geographic context," noted Julia Li, a Google strategic partner manager. "In addition to using Google Maps to get local business details, read reviews, and check out photos, I can now also get a sneak peek with embedded videos."
Business owners can add videos to their business listings by uploading videos to YouTube and ensuring that the 'embed' option is turned on. Then, they can associate their video to their business through the Google Local Business Center. For example, this San Francisco-based bakery's Google Maps' listing includes a video interview with its owner along with several different cakes sold there.
Erick Schonfeld, a TechCrunch blogger, noted that combining the power of YouTube with Google Maps should make Google's local listings much more appealing.
"Now any local business can essentially put a television ad on Google Maps," he said. "But the most effective videos will be the ones that don't seem like ads at all, but rather show the real people behind the businesses that are listed."
He added, however, that it is unfortunate that Google chose to make the feature only available to businesses that list on Google.
"As far as consumers are concerned, they can watch the geo-videos but not create their own," he noted.