Yes! It does look like a dream comes true for those who had been waiting for ages. Google Places, renamed from Local Business Centre this April, is a free of charge web based service by Google where business owners can claim their businesses alongside publishing all important and useful information for their customers and have it all layered out at top of world widely famous Google maps.
How it works:
Google Places provides a comprehensive but most convenient dashboard to handle the business ownerships.
Business owner can provide all important and useful information ranging from company name to contact numbers to their physical location on map. Not only this, you can add business timings, photos, videos and much more.
Part of useful service is to create customized vouchers/coupons for those who reach you through Google Places, which can attract more and more customers to your business.
Benefits & availability:
Google is one of the most accessed services around the world. Business information once submitted to Google Places is then available from all of Google publically accessible services e.g. Google Earth, search, maps etc.
With hundreds of visitors looking at these search results can simply boosts your business. Since your submitted information is verified by Google itself through their verification process so customers can trust the submitted information with no doubts.
One of the most useful benefits is that if once business is claimed and geo-tagged on Google maps, it will leave no chance for your customer to not to locate your physical location.
Following is a local business information as seen on an iPhone Google Maps. However, this data was recorded from Google Map Maker.
Number of other benefits includes analytics reports on how your business is being accessed through Google services so you can make strategies and changes to enhance the business.
These analytics are available through dashboard any time but to make it more helpful to business owners, auto-generated reports are also sent in emails each month.
Being one of the largest business information holder, your business information with your consent is also passed through to other largest business information holders such as Yellow Pages, Thomas Local and so on.
Businesses can attract more customers with tools such as daily post updates and free coupons for customers offering special discounts.
Google Places is available from computers to mobile devices or even physically visible on Google street. Google goodies include the labels to put your business front which states your existence in Google Places as shown in following image.
Following are the Google Places apps screenshot from HTC Desire running Androids & Apple iPhone respectively.
For a detailed and interactive idea on how Places work and help your business grow, please watch the following video.
Having all these benefits, Google Places in Pakistan kicks off with a controversy. Dr Awab Alvi was the first one to notice when he tried to claim his business on Places.
The address contained Muslim word returned an error saying that “Term Muslim is not allowed.” Here is the screenshot taken by Dr Alvi.