Last week, Google rolled out its new small business product called Google My Business, which provides a single platform for updating information on Google Search, Maps and Google+.
If you were already using Google Places for Business or the Google+ Pages Dashboard, you will have to now acquaint yourself with Google My Business right away because they have all been consolidated into the My Business platform. In fact, you can attend a Hangout webinar hosted by Google to learn more about the launch: Thursday June 19, 11:00 PST
While I described Google My Business as a “platform” above, in fact, it is much more than that. Mike Blumenthal refers to it as a brand, a platform, and a portal with enhanced analytics and an interface that connects to other Google products, including AdWords.
Greg Sterling goes so far as to call the product suite a rudimentary CRM. And, when you look at the messaging put out by Google, it’s easy to see why. The product is being billed as a platform to “Connect with Customers” as much as being found.
At the moment, “engagement” is limited to social media, hangouts, and customer reviews. So, it is really more of a public-facing marketing tool, than customer relations management platform. To be sure, all of this is being given away for free, but the hope is that small businesses will use the platform to purchase ads.
Whatever the case, Google My Business in this current iteration is, at the very least, a vast upgrade that should make it much easier for local businesses and marketers to manage Google web properties from a single platform.