To connect its Local Business Center with the millions of people who use Google every day to find places, Google is renaming the Local Business Center to Google Places. Google recently introduced Place Pages to help people make more informed decisions about where to go – from restaurants and hotels to dry cleaners and bike shops. Google Place Pages connects users to the best sources of information across the web – information that include photos, reviews, real-time updates and various promotional offers by business owners.
Google was quite successful with its implementation of the Place Page. In fact around 4 million businesses have already used it and claim for their individual Place Page on Google through the Local Business Center which starting today is now labeled as Google Places. Despite the change in the service’s name, Google will continue to provide the same tools offered by Place Pages and the Local Business Center.
In line with the renaming of the Local Business Center to Google Places, Google has also rolled out several new features of the service.
- Service areas: If you travel to serve customers, you can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private.
- A new, simple way to advertise: For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags. As of today, we’re rolling out Tags to three new cities — Austin, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. — in addition to ongoing availability in Houston and San Jose, CA. In the coming weeks we’ll also be introducing Tags in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
- Business photo shoots: In addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which we’ll use to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages. We’ve been experimenting with this over the past few months, and now have created a site for businesses to learn more and express their interest in participating.
- Customized QR codes: From the dashboard page of Google Places, businesses in the U.S. can download a QR code that’s unique to their business, directly from their dashboard page. QR codes can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.
- Favorite Places: We’re doing a second round of our Favorite Places program, and are mailing window decals to 50,000 businesses around the U.S. These decals include a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to directly view the mobile Place Page for the business to learn more about their great offerings.