Google has been working hard on the launch of their new product, Google My Business, designed for small business owners in order to increase their visibility within Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+.

Google provides services to two important groups, paid services for advertisers and unpaid services for consumers. Google has to work hard to keep both smiling. Without happy consumers using Google for searches and keeping the numbers of viewers/users high, the advertisers wouldn’t want to pay top dollar for Google ads. But over the last several years, Google’s small business portal which is not tied to revenue of ads seemed to have declined.

According to a recent article in the New York Times,

“For several years now, Google’s local portal for small businesses has undergone a series of transformations that have confused business owners and frustrated local service providers. Brands like Google Maps, Google Places, Google+ Local, and Google Local Business Center have come, gone, and commingled. Some businesses have been forced to re-claim and re-verify listings via postcard or telephone PIN code multiple times as Google iterated through feature updates and modifications, or have seen reviews and other valuable content disappear or get overwritten.

In sum, local has been an unfriendly corner of the Google universe — ironically so for a company that prides itself on simplicity and ease of use, and doubly ironic given that in the same timeframe Maps has grown in status as the gold standard for local search, innovating miles in front of the competition and pouring massive resources into ensuring accuracy and usability for the consumer.”

Has Google decided to pour the same resources and energy into Google My Business as it has for Google Maps?  Google My Business is currently rolling out worldwide to 236 countries in 65 languages and will be fully functional on the desktop, Android and iOS once the rollout is completed. Google says that this is their biggest merchant facing launch ever and the rollout reflects a huge investment in the SMB space and a strong foundation for coming developments.

So far, many reviews are praising it as a “solid platform that addresses the needs of small businesses.” Others say for single location business the interface works ok, but for larger or multi-location businesses, once you exceed the visible on screen area it becomes tedious very, very quickly.

What do these changes mean for you?

Small businesses don’t need to make duplicate entries across all Google products. Instead, you enter information one time and it populates all of Google’s services. You can access the following from one screen:

  • Google+: You can share new text, photos, links, videos, and events.
  • Insights: Once you verify your business you are able to gain insights into your visibility, engagement, and audience.
  • Reviews: Each business is given a Google rating and you can manage your reviews on Google and view other reviews around the web.
  • Google Analytics: Quick access directly to your Google Analytics dashboard.
  • Start a Hangout: With the click of a button you can start or join a Hangout.

Will this change the way you do business? What value do you see in these new tools? We’d like to hear!