Help customers find their way with new Google Maps gadget

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 7:00 AM


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 directions offered by their website - I wasn't 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.

With the new directions gadget from Google Maps, any business can offer just that. This simple gadget allows webmasters to add 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.
Google has made this process easy for you.
The gadget allows you to pre-fill the "To" field with one or multiple addresses. Customers are then able to print their directions with a single click. And if they would prefer not to drive, the gadget also provides walking and public transit directions.
Second, if someone entered a vague starting address, they would have the option to specify a more exact address, which will then fly into the "From" field.
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
90210
42.06782° N, 71.756963° W

You can also give your address an alias, or a name that everyone will understand, particularly if your business has more than one location. You can do this by putting the alias in parentheses just after the address:

42.06782° N, 71.756963° W (Grandma's House)
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 here. For the many locations outside of the US, the gadget is available in 23 different languages.