Thursday, September 1, 2011

Google + Business Profiles and Place Pages Updates

Here is a quick update on Google+ and businesses:
" Google encourages reviews "

Small businesses should be aware of two major developments from Google.

For starters, I don't know if you've been keeping up with all of the Google+ news, but the company has been shutting down the profiles of those that have been created for businesses. Right now, Google doesn't want businesses using the service in its current incarnation (which is still in testing mode).

A few weeks ago we mentioned we would be doing a test of business profiles and asked people interested to apply. Believe it or not we actually had tens of thousands of businesses, charities, and other organizations apply to take part from all over the world. Many of you have reached out to me personally through Google+, e-mail, chat, and even other Googlers. Thank you. Your response has been humbling.

With so many qualified candidates expressing intense interest in business profiles, we've been thinking hard about how to handle this process. Your enthusiasm obligates us to do more to get businesses involved in Google+ in the right way, and we have to do it faster. As a result, we have refocused a few priorities and we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months. There may be a tiny handful business profiles that will remain in the meantime solely for the purpose of testing how businesses interact with consumers. 

In the meantime, we ask you not to create a business profile using regular profiles on Google+. The platform at the moment is not built for the business use case, and we want to help you build long-term relationships with your customers. Doing it right is worth the wait. We will continue to disable business profiles using regular profiles. We recommend you find a real person who is willing to represent your organization on Google+ using a real profile as him-or-herself. 

All of us on the Google+ effort are delighted by your engagement with this project - thank you all for taking the time to apply and offer such incredibly useful feedback. 

Separately, Google has made some changes to its Place Pages for local search. It will be interesting to see how they integrate Place Pages with Business Profiles in Google+. With the new version of Place Pages, there is a prominent "write a review" button at the top, encouraging users to participate and talk about businesses. If your customer service isn't top notch, this could hurt you. 

Keep it developing!

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