Matt McGee tweeted a blog article that alerted us to the latest news about Google Places for Business; it is finally getting an update! Google Places for Business was once the portal business owners and managers had to access to make changes to their listing that appeared on Google Maps. With the introduction of Google+, and later Google+ Local, Places for Business took a back seat in terms of it’s usefulness in managing listings.
In the forums that were barraged with questions (and anger in many cases) from business owners trying to get a handle on their business listings after the launch of Google+ Local Pages, Jade Wang first directed many to use Places unless they had setup Google+ Pages. Later on, Jade would direct everyone in a forum post to setup Google+ Pages for Local, stating:
Don’t edit your page using Google Places for Business. The only reason to log in to Google Places for Business would be to check analytics.
On April 2nd, Qasar Younis, Senior Product Manager (via Vanessa Schneider) announced the new look for the dashboard for Google Places for Business. And as you may guess, many of us thought Places would someday redirect to a portal or administrative panel within Google+, but it appears it will stand alone.
In the announcement Google offers these highlights about the update to Google Places:
- Easier to use – Which is very true. From the screenshots, it appears to be the interface many webmasters are familiar with from managing Google+ Pages for Local.
- Edits go live faster – Supposedly, updates will be live within 48 hours! Of course, there is the disclaimer that Google reserves the right to manually moderate changes to ensure quality.
- Better integration with other Google products – The dashboard will allow access to the linked Google+ Page for the location, AdWords Express (if used) and Google Offers.
The update is suppose to roll out over the next couple of weeks, but there is an option available to request to be ‘pushed’ live sooner.
By visiting https://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=3038693&p=coming_soon you can learn a little more about the changes and ask to be upgraded earlier.
Finally! We have very high hopes for this update. It sounds like Google has worked on this update for awhile in an effort to streamline the management of business listings. The concerns we have, as with any new release by the search masters, is that this will lead to a new wave of technical issues/quirks that will make it difficult to make verified business listings accessible as has been experience with the release of Google+ Local. As we await the roll out we are among the webmaster with fingers crossed; success with this update means success to millions of business owners.