Google’s Local Product Gets a Partial Lift
In cosmetic surgery, if you don’t want to do a complete overhaul or aren’t terribly confident that doing everything at once is the best idea there is an option to a partial ‘insert procedure here’. Now, for the record, I had to Google this while concept since cosmetic surgery is not my thing and at this point for me the only viable option is a trade-in but I am not sure that is possible.
Now take this concept to the Internet space. Its common for companies to do things in a more piecemeal fashion to help manage the changes to a product or service. This is what Google has decided to do with its traditionally horrific Local product.
I have a confession here. Since I don’t completely immerse myself in the local scene I often find myself scratching my head over the use of Google Place Pages (weren’t they replaced long ago?) with a Google+ Local page (isn’t that the new deal?) and the management of these important search entities. Why does or doesn’t the dashboard do what it should? The questions are endless and good answers are few and far from between.
So not the level of expertise like others I am going to defer to said others about these changes. If you are even paying a little bit of attention to the Google local space then Mike Blumenthal is the guy most defer to as the expert in the area. I’m a smart guy so I will too :-). Here is some of his insights from his great Google local blog
The upgrade to the Places for Business is an upgrade that is hard to get terribly excited about although it does give hope for the future and there are some plumbing issues that have finally been put to rest. The dashboard seems more focused on commerce than content and offers little in the way of allowing an SMB to really explain who they are and what they do.
Given that Google has had 7 (or is it 8 years?) to come up with a dashboard replacement it is hard to accept a replacement that contains fewer input fields than the broken dashboard that it is replacing. I have such high hopes for local and Google’s role in it that it is hard for me to find much excitement in the late arrival of such a limited product.
That says quite a bit doesn’t it? Google has been dragging its feet with this product forever and everyone has simply stood by and took the latest inadequate news time after time. Why? Because its Google so you play with what they give you. Mike continues in this post to tell you the story of what he feels is a subpar effort y examining the good and the bad. You should read it.
So what do you think? Is Google doing enough to help local businesses with their online presence? I would never say they are obligated to because they are a company and not some government entity but wouldn’t it make sense to work extra hard to please end users who would likely want to spend more money with you if only you acted like you gave a crap?
I don’t get Google’s approach to local but maybe that’s better because I am still not convinced they get it either.