In what is largely just a name change with a few new twists, Google has changed its Local Business Center to Google Places. It makes sense considering that an actual business listing in the Local Business Center was called a place page then why not clean things up a little, right?
Search Engine Land Reports
Google has decided to change the name of what was called the “Google Local Business Center” to “Google Places.” The rationale, according to the press release, is to better connect Google Place Pages with the place where local business information is claimed, entered and enhanced:
Why? Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages – the way that businesses are being found today – with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.
This video gives one of Google’s quick overviews of Google Places.
Google continues to push the local aspect of search as the mobile Internet increases in scope and there is the realization that while we believe that we live in a more global setting we still actually live locally. Even when we are traveling to another area of the country (or the world for that matter) we now become a “local” as far as searching for goods and services is concerned. It’s almost as if the world was so enamored with being to see the rest of the world through the Internet that we forgot that we are local people and consumers by default.
Some other information of interest is that if you live in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder, San Francisco you can now join the test cities of San Jose, CA and Houston, TX in getting a Tag for your listing (formerly known as an Enhanced Listing) for $25 per month. Also, if you are in the right city you can have interior pictures of your business taken by Google. You can apply for this option but there are no guarantees.
Lastly, as part of this announcement Google gave some data that should be of interest to those who already care or should care about their local listing in Google.
- More than 4 million business listings on Google claimed by business owners (using the Local Business Center, now Google Places)
- Nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States
- 20% of searches on Google are related to location
- There are 50 million Place Pages
- Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day
- We have mailed out Favorite Places window decals to around 200,000 businesses around the United States
So while most of the change that is being announced by Google is around the name its really just another reason for Google to tell all of us that local search is the real deal. Google has pushed other services hard in the past but the amount of local and mobile announcements over the past six months clearly spells out Google’s commitment to this side of the search world. Is it because it will make your life better? Sure! Oh, and it should make boatloads of cash which will make some folks at other search engines scratch their heads even more.