New Google Maps Takes Aim at Foursquare, Yelp
The tech giant said Wednesday that it is in the early stages of rolling out the new version of Google Maps, which it unveiled at Google I/O in May. In addition to an improved interface, the app has some built-in features that could pose a threat to Yelp and Foursquare.
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The updated Google Maps incorporates restaurant reviews from Zagat, which Google bought in 2011, so a spot's ratings will appear with the search. Users also can add their own rating and comments for a restaurant directly through Maps, giving it a slight edge over Yelp as users can stay in the same app.
Google is also gunning for Foursquare with its Explore feature, which, similar to Foursquare's, breaks down the function for finding nearby spots into categories. In Google's case, those include 'Eat,' 'Drink,' 'Sleep' and 'Shop.'
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The company also has included discounts, which works by flagging businesses a user has searched with a blue tag on the Map if they have a special offer available. Users can then swipe to get more information and can either use the deal immediately or save to their Google account to cash out later. This is also similar to Foursquare, which flags specials for searched items in its app.
Maps is available for Android phones and tablets Wednesday but requires the Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean version.
—By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.