A few weeks ago, Google announced that they would soon be merging Google Places with Google+ for Business, thus creating a new product called Google+ Local. Google hopes to create the definitive SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) resource for local businesses, and for customers attempting to find and connect with those businesses. Google’s current share of the search engine market (66.7% according to the latest reports) combined with the overwhelming amount of data they have access to (about both consumers and local businesses), gives them an opportunity to create a remarkable and extremely useful platform.
The problem, however, is that Google’s local products have been notoriously buggy, problematic and hard to manage from the business owner’s perspective. To make matters worse, their customer service and response to these issues has been atrocious in most cases. It would seem that much more time and resources are spent developing and promoting these products, so servicing and supporting their users is usually forgotten.
The merging of Google Places and Google+ for Business will reportedly take place gradually over the next couple of months. For a limited time Google was accepting requests to manually merge listings, however it appears they are no longer doing so. Rather than chasing Google’s changes, trying to be among the first to adopt and then crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, we’ve decided to not take any action until the merge is complete and the dust has settled. The last thing we want to do is spend time and resources jumping through Google’s hoops, to find out that either a process has changed again or that our information has been lost or distorted.
We’ll keep you updated and let you know how it all turns out.