The Store Locator Plus® WordPress plugin gets an upgrade to the geocoding process that the MySLP SaaS service users have been enjoying for the past month.    With the release of 5.0 version of the Store Locator Plus® plugin for WordPress, all geocoding requests including those coming from the JavaScript embedded map are now routed through the web server to Google.

Security Through Anonymity

Prior to Store Locator Plus® 5, every time a user visited your map page and typed in an address to be searched — typically the zip code for their town or their home address, this request was sent directly to Google.    That means Google now has all kinds of great information they are going to store about your site visitors.  They know that the user visited your site, when they visited, that they were looking at your location map, and the address where they were looking for your shop.

While that may not seem like a big deal for some sites, there are plenty of businesses where customer discretion is paramount.   Yet Google knows all about their site visitors with every map request.

Google Maps with Store Locator Plus

With Store Locator Plus® 5, we’ve changed the process to take away some of that extra information being fed to Google.     While Google still gets some information about the user visit, they are no longer spoon-fed every address that was searched for from your site.   While the process looks-and-feels identical for your users their address search now goes from the map page to your WordPress server first.  Then your server asks Google to look up the address the user entered.

How does this help?   Google can no longer associate the address search with a specific visitor to your site.  As far as Google can tell every address lookup came from your web server, leaving them with a gap in the knowledge base they are gathering on your site visitors.

How does this impact functionality?

For most users of Store Locator Plus® you will not see any impact on site functionality as long as your Google API keys and server configuration is setup properly.

If for some reason your server is not communicating with Google properly you will need to fix that first.   If you’ve been having issues with locations not geocoding when you add locations on the admin side of things you’ll need to fix that in order to have the front end map address search working.

For Our MySLP Users

As with many other updates to the locator technology, you don’t need to do a thing.    The address lookup obfuscation described above has been in place on your embedded MySLP maps since early November.    We hope to bring full anonymity for your users by re-routing the map rendering through our servers sometime in 2019 to ensure ALL of your site visitor data remains in your hands, not Googles.   

For many clients, customer privacy is important. 

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