Here’s the latest addition to Google’s Local Business Center: a tool to add alerts/updates to your Google Maps Place Page. The widget you see here is only available to businesses that have claimed their listing in the Local Business Center; this update window appears in the upper right of the “View Reports” page. It lets you place a 160-character alert on your place page, and if you use it, your alert will expire after 30 days.
Google’s announcement positions this a tool for business owners to post daily specials or upcoming events. My wife, the real estate agent, doesn’t offer daily specials and rarely hosts open houses (they’re not very effective), so I had to think how we’ll use this. I found something Google doesn’t mention in today’s announcement: The alert box won’t accept HTML code, but it will turn a URL into an active link. So you could use it similarly to how you use Facebook or Twitter.
This is all fine and good, but when it comes to Google, I tend to want more.
What I Wish Google Would Do to Place Pages
Here are seven things I’d love to see Google do with its Local Business Center and Place Pages.
- Follow the lead of Citysearch and let business owners pull in their Twitter updates for display right on the Place Page. (I’m betting that Google’s already working on this.)
- A lot of businesses are on Facebook these days via “Fan Pages,” so let the business owner post one of those Fan Page widgets you see on web sites everywhere.
- Even though some of the content will overlap with what’s already on a place page, let business owners pull in data from their Yelp profile page. Let them post a Yelp badge/widget on their place page.
- In addition, let businesses add links to their Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Flickr and other social profiles.
- On that note, let business owners pull in photos from Flickr, like you already can on on a Google profile. Photographers and bakeries and other local businesses with a highly visual element to their business would love this.
- Let business owners pull in content from their event listings on Upcoming.org, Zvents, and similar sites. Nightclubs and event-based businesses would love this.
- Of course, do all this while still keeping the Local Business Center easy to use and without cluttering up the Place Page.
In a nutshell, I want Google to turn Place Pages into a local business owner’s online headquarters. Make it the one page the business owner wants all of its prospects and customers to find, see, and use.
I’m not asking too much, am I?