Posted January 9, 2013 8:36 am by with 3 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Phone SupportNo folks that was not a typo.

‘Google’ and ‘phone support’ were used in the same thought as it relates to one of their free services. Normally I would be very skeptical about this kind of claim but in this case the source is non other than Mike Blumenthal. Let’s put it this way, if you can’t trust Mike to be telling the truth about Google Local changes (or least as close to the truth as Google will allow to be known) then you might as well hang up your local search hat and call it a day.

In a post from yesterday at Mike’s Understanding Google Places and Local Search blog he says

Google+ Local had a rough 2012. But it appears that at the start of 2013 there has been at least one upgrade that is worth shouting about (here’s hoping its permanent).

Google is actually providing phone support when a business runs into verification issues.

Just to be sure that you read that correctly, I will repeat it:

Google is actually providing phone support when a business runs into verification issues. And not just phone support but support that is staffed (at least currently) by US based, English speaking personnel.

I always appreciate a healthy level of sarcasm when there appears to be any mention of Google and local listing support provided by a living, breathing, non-automated human. Is this something that was just an accident? Could someone like Mike, or any other mere human for that matter, repeat this act and get the same startling result? Apparently so. Mike updated his post with the words

Google has confirmed that this is a permanent feature.

There must be monkeys flying out of someone’s butt somewhere on the planet because this is a huge step for Google. Since their transition to the Google+ Local ‘system’ there has been trouble followed by more trouble. Merged listings, ‘do not support that location’ messages and just about every iteration of local listing agony one can think of has taken place and the incidences are unfortunately not isolated.

But maybe, just maybe, 2013, the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese zodiac, could be the year of less snake oil from Google about their horrific local ecosystem?

I will reserve judgment for now but at first glance, and an involuntary double-take, it looks like Google might actually care about the businesses that they are depending on to populate these listings. There may even be a chance to manage these listings without having to jump through hoops and running down blind alleys and risk going bald from pulling your hair out. Maybe….just maybe.

Pinch me.

  • Thank God. Ever try to upload a mass verification spreadsheet and have it denied with no comment on which of the 20+ locations is problematic?

    Glad to know I’ll never have to deal with that again.

    • Matt – While I appreciate your optimism I would posit that it is probably a best practice for us all to ‘never say never’ when it comes to Google and what they do or don’t do. We should probably enjoy this moment of humanity and just pray hard for more!

  • I “upgraded” by verifying a G+ page and it replaced my client’s place page. The new listing only has 1 category (not of our choosing) and doesn’t list his full address (it won’t let me change this). So he dropped from top rankings to completely off the map. What can I do to recover from this? I’m strongly considering reverting back to a place page.