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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.

In Google’s Case, April Fool’s Cuts Both Ways

google-logoLooks like Google has outdone itself this year huh? Hiiiilaaaarious stuff about treasures on maps, blue email, searching with your nose and YouTube closing. Oh stop Google! My sides are hurting!

There was one that I actually did chuckle at which is the Google Apps Levity algorithm. Here’s the video for you to get a little, uhh, levity from, I guess.

The best April Fool’s joke that I found, however, came at Google’s expense. It plays off the idea of just how ridiculous and unbelievable it would be to see an announcement that Google had released local business products that work, make sense and have support for them.

There are no fancy videos just fanciful thinking of what an actual working product on the local level would be like from Google. It happened over at Mike Blumenthal’s blog and the post’s title alone, “Google Local Announces New Local Product and Promises Better Communications” says it all. Here’s a sample for you.

Google Close to Deal With States On Street View Charges

It’s likely that Google will never be out of the woods with its Street View product. It is close to reaching an agreement with states that have ‘issues’ with how data is collected etc.

According to Bloomberg it looks like the fines are mere pennies relative to Google’s ‘bank’.

Google Inc. (GOOG) is close to an agreement to pay about $7 million to settle allegations that the company improperly collected personal data for its Street View product, a person familiar with the matter said.

The company has reached an agreement in principle with more than 30 states, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The resolution could be announced as early as next week, another person said.

Here is the Bloomberg TV report if interested.

Google Maps Update for iPhone Released

Maps Blog iPhone App UpdateRemember back in the day when Google Maps wasn’t even available on iOS and the new Apple Maps was received with such vigor (-ous contempt)? All those long months ago in the Ice Age of the Internet (October 2012 or thereabouts) people from around the world were singing the praises of Apple Maps……not.

Oh how times have changed. Here we are now in the future, some 4 Internet months or so and now all is well with the world again. Google Maps, the app, is allowed in the walled garden that is the Kingdom of Apple and today even announced some upgrades for its iPhone apps. Oh joy.

The Google Maps blog (formerly the LatLong blog) reports

Yelp’s Review Filter According to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman

Yelp is one of the more interesting Internet stories there is in the market today. All at once revered and hated it is an important piece of the SMB and more directly, local Internet marketing landscape.

Yelp’s review filter is one area that gets a lot of attention. In this video, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman tells Yelps’ side of the story (hat tip to Greg Sterling). Ironically the video is on YouTube which is a Google property which is supposed to be Yelp’s arch enemy in the local space. That is unless of course hosting the video elsewhere wouldn’t get as many views, right?

So this is a nice point of view of the filter and the wonders it does. On the other hand, it’s quite easy for one to discover the dark side of Yelp and some of the supposed abuses it dishes out to business owners.

Google Providing Phone Support For Google+ Local Verification Issues

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 Business Photos Now Getting Search Prominence

I don’t get Google Maps and,in particular, Google Local. There is SO much potential yet they seem hell bent on making information as hard as possible to find. As I have always said, many of Google’s products are ‘Engineered by engineers for engineers’ and since most of the planet is not an engineer, well, you can guess what kind of cluster results. There is hope, however, although it comes right before the freakin’ end of the world but at least they are trying!

Yesterday Google announced in its Google Maps Google+ account that the Business Photos that are being taken by a Google Business Photo Trusted Photographer like my friend in Raleigh, NC, Charles Register are getting prime real estate in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Take a look at the example below.

Big Als BBQ See Inside

This is important because until this point in time Google has for some unknown reason really buried this valuable online business asset. There are few better ways to see a place before you go than these photos and they look really good due to the process Google requires their trusted photographers to go through to put them together.