Apple Watch Opens New Doors in Local Search

The advent of Apple Watch means consumers will soon have a new wearable gadget at their disposal — and it’s one that could have a profound impact on local search, as well as geo-targeting and offers like mobile coupons.

That’s in part because Apple Watch will likely increase the number and frequency of hyper-local searches, making it even more important for businesses to ensure they can be found by consumers on the go.

What’s more, per Apple, its WatchKit tool set means developers will “be able to easily create experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch,” which, in turn, could also theoretically influence search and/or the interaction between businesses and consumers, depending what those developers cook up.

Not only will Apple Watch users gain access to the Digital Crown, a high-tech version of the traditional watch knob that will allow them to scroll, zoom, navigate and access Siri, they will also gain a so-called Taptic Engine, or a linear actuator that produces haptic, or tactile, feedback. In other words, this is a watch that taps wrists.

“Whenever you receive an alert or notification, or perform a function like turning the Digital Crown or pressing down on the display, you feel a tactile sensation that’s recognizably different for each kind of interaction,” the Apple Watch website says. “Combined with subtle audio cues from the specially engineered speaker driver, the Taptic Engine creates a discreet, sophisticated, and nuanced experience by engaging more of your senses.”

And that includes directions.

At the Apple event on September 9, Vice President of Technology Kevin Lynch said users will be able to search for locations via dictation or favorites, map out the routes and receive haptic feedback at each turn – including different notifications to denote right or left turns.

When asked for additional details about Apple Watch its search capabilities, an Apple rep responded, “All the information we have available at present is in our press release or on http://www.apple.com/watch/.”

However, anecdotally, the implications for businesses trying to get in front of consumers are clear. And, in an email, Lisa Raehsler, principal strategist at online marketing agency Big Click Co., writes:

“With the small screen and portability a key feature, we can expect searches to be hyper-local in that users will be looking for business locations very close to them in a small radius of miles or even blocks. This will make it critical for businesses to have a complete profile on Google Maps via set up through the new Google My Business. Taking advantage of opportunities for digital coupons and offers that users can redeem when they are physically nearby will give those businesses a competitive edge in search.”

Moreover, according to analyst firm Canalys, the Apple Watch will make up the majority of wearable devices shipped globally in 2015, making the potential reach — and implications for businesses and search — huge.

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