Image: iStockphoto/pressureUA

You find a restaurant, store, or other company through Google Maps and have a question about a product or service offered by that business. How can you ask your question? In certain cases, you can do so directly through Google Maps. If the business supports the Google Maps messaging feature via its listing, you can send a question or other message to that company. If the company responds, you can then carry on a back-and-forth conversation if needed.

SEE: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (TechRepublic Premium)

First, open Google Maps on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Search for or locate a business that you want to use. Tap the name of the business and then swipe up below the map to access its Overview screen. If the company supports Google Maps messaging, you’ll see a Message icon in the top toolbar and/or an entry in the list below it that reads: “Contact Us Now.” Tap either the Message icon or the Contact Us Now entry (Figure A).

Figure A

Type your question in the messaging app and send it (Figure B).

Figure B

To check for messages, return to the Google Maps app. Tap the hamburger icon in the upper left and then tap the entry for Messages. Tap the message you wish to read. You can then reply back to the business if you need to follow up further (Figure C).

Figure C

The most challenging aspect of this feature is finding businesses that support Google Maps messaging–many do not. But, if a business of interest does offer messaging, this can be a quick and easy way to get more information about it.