Apple Maps still probably won’t replace Google Maps for some users (it didn’t have multi-stop routes until last year), but Apple thinks there’s another way to bridge the feature gap: give stores more control over what You see They see. The company has started a free Apple Business Connect tool that allows any business to customize their location maps in apps like Maps, Messages, Siri, and Wallet. They can add their own pictures, invite promotions in other apps (e.g. book a restaurant through OpenTable) or present the latest promotions.
Apple screens businesses before giving it control of a location map, but businesses only need to use an Apple ID to sign in. Business Connect is available worldwide, with Showcases initially only available in the US. They will reach other countries in the “coming months,” the company says.
The expansion comes as Apple is said to be finding ways to capitalize on Maps. The iPhone maker is reportedly preparing to bring search ads to Maps later this year. If true, custom store information could improve Apple’s bottom line — a company might be more likely to pay for ads if it knows they lead to more sales.