On Wednesday, Google announced the introduction of Google My Business, a streamlined platform for small businesses to use its tools. The platform allows businesses to update their information, add photos, share news and see reviews, all in one place.
While businesses owners could already perform many of these functions, Google acknowledged that the process could be complicated. “I’d love to say that previously it was straightforward,” said James Croom, Google’s marketing manager. Instead, he said, business users had reported that some Google tools were confusing and located in an “overwhelming amount of places.”
The Google My Business platform consolidated many of the tools included in Pages and Places and made them simpler to use, Mr. Croom said; the process was similar to Facebook’s decision to rework its ad platform earlier this year after receiving complaints from small-business users. Mr. Croom said that Google wanted to simplify its tools because small-business owners were often overwhelmed by the available technologies.
Business owners can sign up at Google My Business and from that portal update their search, maps and Google Plus information. They will also be able to see reviews of their business from across the web and to review activity on their Google Plus page and analytics for their website. And they can integrate information from AdWords and AdWords Express. The company said it planned to release a Google My Business app for Android as early as Wednesday and for iOS by the end of the month.
Although the change will make it easier to connect with AdWords, Mr. Croom said that Google did not streamline its tools to generate ad revenue (the company has more than one million small-business advertisers). Google, he said, wants business owners to have the ability to update their business information quickly and continually so that the information surfacing in searches is accurate. “The point is to make the experience for our business and nonbusiness users better,” he said.
The company’s other goal is to persuade every small business to set up a website. A few recent studies — including one from Internet marketing company Yodle — show that about half of small-business owners still do not have a website. “Google,” Mr. Croom said, “wants to get them online.”
Originally published at NY TIMES. Written by Eilene Zimmerman.
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