Google Places: Local Recommendations From People Around You
Found In: Mobile
As Google began to take the world by storm, providing the most accurate and relevant search results for people, it not only left competitors way back in their rear view, they also formed a corporate culture that encourages and spawns innovation from its workforce. That is, not only did it tap into recruiting the best brains from the best universities, and also head hunted the best people from large technology companies, Google committed work ethic systems that propelled people into using twenty per cent of their working time devoted to developing their own projects that could be useful all people if they eventually became publicly available. When these private development projects rise to be in the top twenty of all the projects being worked on, Google then steps in and fully funds and supports the rapid deployment of the new service. And the staff member who created the idea heads up the project’s development team and oversees it to full implementation.
One such project has been Google Places. Whilst most businesses are now found in Google be means of its search algorithm, Google Places enables business owners to update and validate their business information. In one sense it is outsourcing the business record keeping information to each business, which it stands to reason has a vested interests sin keeping the information accurate and current. Google Places is a practical and easy to use interface which users can access at any time to further update their company information and this is especially useful for those businesses that don’t have a website. It stands to reason that if a business doesn’t have a web site, then it can be included in the google search index by its algorithm. Yet Google is committed to capturing all information on all subjects and providing users with access to it. Google Places therefore is perfect for capturing information that would otherwise never make it into the search engine.
Google Places is a Subset of Google Maps
Users can login and manage their business listing and publish photos about it, also videos, which business categories it services or information about how to find it and where best to park to get there. It even allows a business to provide coupons to encourage customer loyalty and to visit or buy. Not only does it help businesses to list useful information, it also keeps statistics data about how many visitors have accessed the information and over what dates. It is a truly wonderful way that Google has empowered businesses to express in their own voice for all the information which is potentially useful to users. Bringing more information to users is deeply ingrained into Google corporate culture.
Of course it is not limited to only businesses; rather ti is devoted to all “places”, and Google is committed to having useful and accurate information about every place of earth. Called Place Pages, each place has its own web page free of charge, and these Google Place Pages can then be found in the Google Search Results, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google’s Mobile search, and by means of 1-800-GOOG-411 voice directory search.
Google Places is Better Than Yellow Pages
Even businesses and places of interest that already have their own listing can and should make use of Google Places. Businesses should see it as a free advertisement where they can list all of their services, upload photographs, and provide useful information like business hours and the customer service areas catered for. And if the business has its own web site, of course Google Places allows people to publish a link to it. The fact is, the more information included in the Google Places listing increases the chances of the business being including in more organic search engine results. That is, because the information is verified as correct, Google value the information very highly when assigning its relevance and page rank to the businesses own web site. Integrating into the Google Places listing the use of Google Maps is easy to do, so that potential customers can easily use google Maps to get travelling instructions. Anything useful like driving instructions all goes to prove to potential customers the business’s commitment to customer service.
Google Places Customer Reviews Provide Insight into Customer Expereinces.
Part of the service that is proving very useful is the ability for people to leave a review on the business. This enables people who have been a customer of a business to make comment on their experience so that others can apprise themselves of what others think about the business. And people cannot leave reviews anonymously; they must be logged into their Google account to do so, thus providing some degree of accountability over what is reported. If there is any inappropriate content put into a review, the business owner can flag it as inappropriate and Google staff members will weigh into the issue to make sure that no unfairness is involved. Having said that, Google Places staff are not interested in arbitrating any disputes. Both positive and negative comments are encouraged.
Google staff will remove any review content that is inappropriate, is deemed to be some form of spam or advertising, completely off topic to the Google Places listing or is deemed to be a conflict of interest. The main point is that google Places reviews are of value when they are honest and unbiased. Providing opinion has been expressed in the proper form, business owners do have the right to respond to a negative comment, which provides for greater interaction between customers and the businesses they frequent. Google Places does make an apology on its web site for those occasions where its algorithm has arbitrarily removed a review it felt didn’t comply with its policies. It simply maintains that in the interests of the greater good, it is the best of breed service offering for now, and that they are continually improving it for authenticity, relevance and usefulness. Do no Evil google.