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Apple Maps aims at business with Snapshots for email, web

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If you run a public-facing business, this would be a good time to take a look at Apple’s latest Maps enhancement. It allows companies to add a useful map to emails, websites or elsewhere.

Introducing Apple Maps Web Snapshot

Apple quietly announced these snapshots in a note to developers. The company says these can be used to share business locations, as well as other important geographical data points such as places of interest, routes, and so on.

Unlike the core Maps product, these snapshots are not interactive; they’re static information points you can use without JavaScript.

Snapshots can furnish the basic map, and developers can create snapshots that change to reflect whether a user’s device is in normal or dark mode. It is also possible to create snapshots in standard map mode, satellite map, or hybrid modes. (The developer note uses Apple Park to illustrate the variations.)

Create these in Snapshot Studio

The company has introduced a tool called Snapshot Studio in which developers can build these snapshots for use across a company’s public-facing digital portals. This is simple. All it requires is that you select an address or point of interest on which to center your map, after which you can adjust the following parameters:

  • Dark mode.
  • Show (or don’t show) local points of interest
  • Choose between standard, satellite, or hybrid map views.

Once you have prepared your map, you can set a single text glyph, marker color, and your preferred marker style (balloon, dot, large balloon).

Finally, to use the map you will need to enter your developer account identifier and set an expiration date. You can also create a referrer restriction, which may prevent your map from being used by sites you do not control.

The result is a link that you can embed wherever you may want the map snapshot to appear – you can display up to 25,000 daily requests for it under the standard developer membership. (You can increase that capacity on request.)

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You can, of course, also deploy interactive maps using Apple’s existing tools, which have been available since 2018.

Who is this for?

Apple Maps has always been up against the online mapping giant that is Google Maps, but the company has continued to invest in its service; now, it arguably offers something that at times exceeds Google’s offer.

Apple recently sent some members of its Maps teams unique thank you gifts for the work they’ve done to improve the service. “You saw around the corners and gave our customers a revolutionary product they didn’t even know they needed yet,” an accompanying note said.

We know that companies everywhere are investing more and more in local search, and static maps of this kind are invaluable to boost such search results.

Apple’s privacy-boosted partnership with DuckDuckGo means its maps also now appear in search results on that service. And the move to introduce static maps will match an emerging need as more businesses realize the opportunity they unlock by improving support for multiple search engine services across a variety of browsers.

Creating a system to enable business users to embed Apple Maps snippets and/or snapshots helps extend that reach, while also providing a viable (and free) alternative for companies seeking to manage their Google dependency.

The move likely also reflects Apple’s continued advance into the business and enterprise computing markets. After all, the increasing prevalence of Apple hardware across the enterprise means many decision makers will be more willing than before to work with its other products, including the use of Apple Maps.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

 

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