Google Rolls Out Place Pages In Google Maps

Late in the afternoon on Friday, Google quietly rolled out a new Google Maps product aimed at creating a richer map browsing experience for the consumer.  Enter Google Place Pages, exit Yelp.  The new offering is nothing short of a reference library for every place on the planet.

Yeah, not just the U.S., not just businesses, everything.  Or from the Google Blog post on the subject: there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world.

So, pretty much everything.

Keep in mind, Google does not create content, they collect, parse and repackage data for easy use.  Which explains the integration of transit times, photos, reviews (from sites such as CitySearch and TripAdvisor) as well as user-generated maps in the new offering.

As for Yelp.  Although the Google service is literally hours old the pundits are calling for an end, or at best a strong challenge, for everyone’s favorite local review site.  Will Yelp wither and die?  Probably not, however considering Google’s enormous reach, the new Place Pages offering has a good shot to replace Yelp at the top of the local review site mountain.

Ironically, by pulling in reviews from sites just like Yelp.

As a tourism marketer, what does Place Pages mean for you?

It means you should check out your Place Page quickly.

While the full Google Blog post on the subject includes how to information on updating a listing, we figured it would be best to save you some time.

  1. If you own or work for a business, get to the Google Local Business Center and claim your listing now.
  2. If you are a place, such as Denver, you can edit some content via the community edits feature, but for the most part the business listings within your destination roll up into your page.  Meaning you need to educate your partners on Step 1 above, rather than trying to quickly add photos to Panoramio.

Case in point, a quick search for the Denver Zoo…consistently one of the most popular attractions in Denver (and a heck of a zoo!)…had this lovely little message just below the title:

This place is permanently closed.

Yeah, you just said a four letter word in your head and you don’t even work for the Denver Zoo.  Which word is a personal preference.

Needless to say the zoo is in fact not closed and open every day of the year.  But, if one was looking for more information about this attraction on Google Place Pages that fact might not be so clear.

Moral of the story, finish reading this article and start Googling your business ASAP.

Finally, yes, this is another online location where you have to ‘own’ your business.  However, unlike every other new local site, Google is in a league all its own.  Keep monitoring and maintaining your businesses on sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor, but go ahead and add Google to the top of that list.

And fast.

(Editor’s Note: We have submitted a change request for the incorrect status of the Denver Zoo on Google Place Pages.  At time of publishing, the change was pending.)

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