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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.

Facebook Nearby Gives Local Searchers A Strong New Option

Facebook Nearby in NavigationI will be really honest with you here. I hate the idea of writing this post.

Why? Well, I have been wanting to get away from Facebook for a while now and it seemed to be getting easier and easier since most “innovation” that was coming from the social media giant was geared toward advertiser experience and not end user experience.

That is until the latest release of Nearby, the local search / discovery feature that is rolling out to Facebook users for both Android and iOS devices. Couple that with an Android app that actually works much better (just released) and I may have to consider sticking around. Crap!

So why the change of heart? Well, Nearby makes sense and it provides useful information. Even in my little town I ‘discovered’ things I was completely unaware of (it should be noted I don’t get out much unless it’s to an event related to my kids so be mindful of that as you read) and the presentation of the information was easy to read, manageable and made sense. Crap!

Here is a really big screenshot to give you an idea

Police Down Under Warn Against Using Apple Maps

I thought this ‘issue’ had gone away especially since many in the US report that their Apple Maps experience has been more than just fine but apparently there are still some worms in the maps that are Apple’s.

Normally I wouldn’t even bother with reports of bad Apple Maps directions at this point. The furor has died down and people either accept their maps or are using the Google Maps web version for mobile (which many see as a major step down from the native app).

But when you have a police department issue a warning against using Apple Maps based on the need to rescue several people as a result of being misled, well, you gotta share that, right?

MacRumors reports

Google Adds New View to Local Searches On iPad

Even though Google’s local ecosystem is a train wreck for businesses themselves that isn’t stopping Google from promoting local results in new ways for iPad users.

Users will now be able to see what Google is calling a ‘horizontal carousel’ so a user can see several results and review data and then see more by swiping. Here is a picture of the new offering followed by what happens when you click on a results box.

Clicking on a result shows this

Apple Maps Manager Given Directions to the Exit Door

I am not a big fan of reporting on when someone has been fired. I have been in that position before but no one reported about it (until just now actually, so there).

The reason a firing at Apple is getting attention is because it was of the person who was ultimately held responsible for the Great Apple Maps Mishap of 2012. You remember it right? Apple users around the world were directed to slam their cars into brick walls and famous landmarks were reduced to wavy images that led some iPhone 5 users to think they were having flashbacks. OK, well it wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t good either.

Bloomberg reports

Report Says Social Media Ad Revenues Will Top 9 Billion in 2016

According to BIA/Kelsey,  U.S. social media ad revenues added up to a cool $4.6 billion in 2012. But that’s nothing compared to where we’re going. Their newly published forecast has us hitting the $9.2 billion mark by 2016.

Google makes $9.2 billion before breakfast but social media has had a harder time collecting ad dollars so these numbers are very encouraging. It would seem to indicate that we still believe in the power of social media in spite of all the evidence that shows it doesn’t work.

BIA/Kelsey’s numbers include YouTube, which I don’t generally think of as a social network but they do rake in the bucks with their display units.

The forecast also predicts healthy growth in local social media advertising. Right now, it’s sitting at barely over $1 billion but should hit $3 billion in 2016.