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Integrating Google Maps for Location-Aware Chatbots



Chatbots are now firmly in the mainstream. People often use them to get information from businesses outside of standard operating hours. They might ask, “What time do you open?” or, “Does your menu have gluten-free options?”

In other cases, however, people need details about how to find a company’s location, a query where chatbots can help.

It’s a good idea to read a detailed walkthrough on how to embed a moving, zoomable map into your chatbot, such as the tutorial offered by Once you start grasping the concept of maps provided in chatbot conversations, you’ll be able to start envisioning how you might use them.

A business that does not offer a chatbot may have difficulty competing in the marketplace or risk disappointing customers. Research indicates that more than one-third of consumers want companies using chatbots more often. Creating one that gives location information could reduce confusion and ensure accuracy.

Consider chatbots that could help in the following situations:

  • Giving directions to a corporate open house event

Some chatbot platforms have built-in functionality that makes adding a location-aware chatbot simpler than you might anticipate. For example, TARS is a company that features chatbots among its offerings for customers.

If you have a TARS chatbot, implementing functionality for Google Maps begins when you search for the desired location, such as your company’s headquarters. Pull up the address in Google Maps, then find the Share button and click on the Embed Map option that appears.

Copy the map’s iframe code into any text editor. If you initially searched for The White House in Google Maps, for example, the iframe code would be as follows:

<iframe src=”!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3105.1503819264813!2d-77.03871848493745!3d38.89767627957064!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89b7b7bcdecbb1df%3A0x715969d86d0b76bf!2sThe+White+House!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sin!4v1511332214641″ width=”600″ height=”450″ frameborder=”0″ style=”border:0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Notice the width and height specifications in the final line of the code? You’ll need to change the width value to 200 and the height to 250 to ensure the map fits neatly in your chat window. Finally, copy and paste the edited code into the window you use to configure TARS chatbots.

Manychat is another brand you may be familiar with or want to use in the future. The system has an artificial intelligence component called Janis. It facilitates many capabilities of the Manychat system, including making it easier to direct people to your location.

The most straightforward way to do this is to grab the address format for your location straight from Google Maps. Begin by searching for the desired place. After pulling up the area, look for the code that has a + symbol in it. You should find it somewhere below the standard address format, which looks like one you’d use to address a piece of mail.

After clicking on the code, an icon should appear that lets you copy the content. Once you have the information and can paste it into a text editor, look for any spaces in the address. If you see any, insert the + sign into the address to ensure the correct formatting.

You’ll also need to add a small bit of code before the Google Maps address, including #janis.send_location. This all-important bit tells the AI to determine a person’s current location and send them a Google Maps link that instructs how to get from where they are to a company’s property. Check out the code in practice below, which shows a potential chatbot response followed by the code snippet that makes the location-aware feature function.

As you can see from the example below, people receive a clickable link that takes them directly to a Google Maps screen showing their location, where the business is and how to get there.

This technique prevents people from needing to manually type in your address or theirs and potentially make frustrating errors.

If you use the Flow XO chatbot along with the Telegram Bot API, it’s possible to make the SendLocation option align with a custom request.

The screenshot below shows details of the code for the custom request:

Formatting the request properly means that people will see interactive Google Maps content instead of a link they need to click.

You’ll also need to get the latitude and longitude data outputs from the Google Maps webhook offered by Flow XO.

The solutions described here only work if a person has location permission enabled on their device.

With that in mind, remember to always uphold best practices for privacy, and let users know about your commitment. After, you’ll be on your way to encouraging people to use and love the location-aware chatbot you created.

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