Google Places goes social with latest feature

May 27th, 2014

Can Google hear you? You bet they can

The design is simple: a white page, a colourful logo, a search bar, but the possibilities are endless and as with all things ‘Google’ updates are inevitable, necessary and most welcome.

Ever since Google changed their ‘Google Local Business Centre’ to ‘Google Places’ back in 2010 there has been constant interest in how the the site can best aid your business. User blogs, posts, comments, statuses and tweets have been monitored and the search engine giant has once again provided an update to make the simple things simpler.

Four years on from the re-brand and Google have stayed true to their evolutionary ethos and updated Google Places in a bid to make the service even more user friendly.

Within a month of the launch of Google+ there were over 25 million unique users, making it the fastest growing website in history, as we stand at the moment there are 1.15 billion registered accounts with over 31% currently active. Statistics like these show that both interest in the site and traffic on the site are nothing to worry about, but any new features must now try and add to the social element, the click through rate on Google+ and the time spent on the site.

So what could make this site even more user friendly, you ask? Well, by making changes to Google Places – the integrated map tool which allows businesses of all sizes to be pinpointed on Google Maps – as a digital society we feel a more personal connection.

We can write reviews, post pictures, pass comment, share a location… the list goes on. But in truth, the ownership of a ‘Google Place’ holds the most exciting change. Businesses will now be able to actively market their company, events, promotions etc just as we market ourselves on social networks.

Each location in upgraded and verified accounts will have social features automatically enabled and each page will now have only one verified owner to ensure multiple verified users for the same location are not automatically overwriting each others business information

Community manager for Google Places, Jade Wang, made the announcement to change in a Google Product Forum, earlier in the week by writing: “Each location in upgraded and verified accounts will have social features automatically enabled. To use social features on a particular location, like making a post, please hover over Live in the status column and click on the Google+ icon.”

Discussing the ownership of each of the Google Places, Wang added: “Each page will now have only one verified owner. This ensures that multiple verified users for the same location are not automatically overwriting each others business information.”

The Bulk Management tool which allows page owners to track all of their pages and data simultaneously, has integrated a new Google+ feature in a bid to further interlink Google’s products.

The main changes that will be apparent once you’ve been upgraded are:

  • Seeing the status of locations on Maps
  • Use an updated interface that makes data conflicts with your information visible and actionable
  • Manage access to your locations by adding and removing managers and transferring location ownership
  • Make updates and posts to your customers using the Google+ page for your location

The rationale behind the change was to better connect the millions of users who search for real locations on the search engine, to the actual place pages for those businesses or places.

Below is an example of how the new interface will look for those who have been updated. From this menu, location managers will be able to control up to 10 different ‘places’ assign ‘place managers’ and place updates.

Those waiting to see the changes are encouraged to be patient. The upgrades represent a huge change for the bulk location management tool and will be taking place gradually over the next few weeks.

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