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Google constantly improves Google Maps features to make this informational source popular. Some of new features as Street Views (virtual street tours) and Traffic (live traffic reports) provide very useful information but don’t allow visitors to add new information. This post is focused on other features that give visitors better opportunity to interact.

User generated reviews in local listings

One of the most recently available features is user generated reviews of businesses that appear in local listings in Google Maps. Any visitor with Google account can post a review that will be available for other visitors worldwide.

How it works. Use Google Maps to search business you would like to review. This search will show result with location of the business. If you click on the location of the business small window with description will pop-up.

This window has a link “Write a review” under the name of the business. You can write a text of review and add a rating by using stars.

In the same window you can find more information about this business and read reviews of other visitors.

My Maps

Another new feature is My Maps. There is a tab next to search result window in Google Maps.

Visitors can create there personalized or customized maps. Google account is required. Visitors are able to put placemarks, write description text (plain text, rich text, HTML), include photos or videos, and draw simple graphical elements.

After creating process visitors can share custom maps with other people. There is an option to make a custom map available for public. It is possible to export custom map to view it in Google Earth software.

Visitors can put additional content on custom maps as well. There are many third-party informational tools (mapplets) available such as weather forecast, gas prices, transit maps, etc.