Google Maps gadget: Help customers find their way

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

With the new directions gadget from Google Maps, any business can offer customized Google Maps directions to their business locations. With the directions gadget, you no longer need to type and update multiple sets of text directions. Let's face it: customers are only looking for directions from their specific location.

Last week, I looked up directions to the hotel in Sacramento that I had booked for the 4th of July weekend. As I had never been to that part of the state before, I was puzzled by the limited directions offered by their website - I had no idea whether I was approaching from the North, South, East or West or where the major highways were. What I needed were step-by-step directions from my exact starting point to the hotel that I could easily print and go.

Google has made this process easy for you. By copying and pasting a single line of code, any website can offer customized door-to-door directions powered by Google Maps to their users.

google friend connect gadget for directions

The gadget allows you to pre-fill the "To" field with one or multiple addresses. Customers are able to print their directions with a single click. And for those who prefer not to drive, the gadget also provides walking and public transit directions.

walking and public transit directions in google friend connect direction gadget

If someone enters a vague starting address, they have the option to specify a more exact address, which will then fly into the "From" field.

address suggestions by the google friend connect directions gadget in case the from address the user put in the from field is ambiguous

Providing directions from Google Maps is very flexible; in addition to run-of-the-mill addresses, you can give your customers directions to everything from a generic ZIP code to a specific set of latitude-longitude coordinates for any of your locations. Example destinations:

123 River St, Woods, MA
42.06782° N, 71.756963° W

You can also give your address an alias, or a name that everyone will understand. You can do this by putting the alias in parentheses just after the address:

42.06782° N, 71.756963° W (Grandma's House)
friend connect directions gadget alias address support

Take a look at how Legoland California, Emeril Lagasse, and Harvard University are using the gadget. And then test and create your own directions gadget. For the many locations outside of the US, the gadget is available in 23 different languages.