In the last few days you may have heard of a new Google service – ‘My Business’. But what is this new service that got ushered in overnight? How does it affect users that already have a Google+ or Google Places account?
Essentially, Google My Business is a new dashboard to manage all the Google Services your business already uses from one place. Places, Plus, YouTube, Analytics, Reviews, Insights and Hangouts are now all easily accessible from the google.com/business link. If you already have a Google+ page or Places/Maps listing you should already be subscribed for the services, and emails are being sent out in dribs and drabs – in our office we have all received emails about our pages on separate occasions as Google must be working through the mammoth task of emailing everyone with a business-related account. However, even if you haven’t received your email the new functionality should still be accessible.
The new dashboard will certainly make the services that already exist a little more streamlined and slightly easier to use – and remedy the old confusion of the not-quite-integrated Places and Plus pages. However, it doesn’t really seem that there is any groundbreaking new functionality to the service, just a slightly easier way to manage things as you now only have one access point to add photos, updates and profile edits across your businesses Google presence. The only other new thing I have spotted so far in my poking about is a nifty new way to respond to reviews – perfect for businesses like restaurants and hotels where reviews are key. Also, an Android app has been released, with iOS hot on its heels, for business owners who like to update on-the-go.
So essentially, this latest update is the culmination of Googles many attempts to streamline its Places/Local/Maps for Business offering since the introduction of Google+ pages – hopefully they will finally stick to this name and functionality, and roll out further functionality once everyone has adjusted to the new dashboard. It would be so useful to have Webmaster Tools and Adwords added to this feature at a later date.