I spend quite a bit of time managing owner-verified listings on Google Places for clients, and for my own personal side gig (I create customized hair dolls of celebrities, unrequited loves, mentors and any other figure in your life—you don’t even have to provide the hair!). Therefore, I like to keep on top of the latest “enhancements” made by the oh-so-talented and dedicated Places team.
Recently, they’ve decided that verifying your listing and filling out your own information isn’t quite good enough for their taste. In their race to control everything their cheeto-stained greasepalms touch improve the user experience, Places has decided they are going to go ahead and update your listing if they find (what they consider) better information.
I like this. After all, I have a strong incentive to list my business (Locks of Lust) under an incorrect address or name, because having customers “purchase” your “services” with “money” at the “place your business exists” is so 1990. The new hotness is randomly changing your name, moving locations, and ceasing to operate as a viable enterprise.
Thankfully I have friends in the Google Machine, and they’ve risked life and limb (you don’t know terror until you’ve been chased down a data center hallway by an armed security android resembling Sergey Brin) to bring me the next three features that will be added to Places …
1. Automatic Pivot
Are you failing? Is your business a joke? Does your significant other threaten to move with the kids to Florida if you don’t stop trying to sell home brewed pruno out of a storage unit? Then you’ll love this. Google will recognize that you’re in the wrong business (based on an algorithm of course) and then automatically update your offerings! Instead of pruno, you’ll sell hair feathers! Or BMWs! They will just charge the appropriate supplies to your credit card and have them shipped directly to your business. How thoughtful.
2. Staff Management
This is too easy. If your reviews start falling under the three star threshold, Google will take steps to fix the user experience you’re giving customers. In pattern with the rest of their advice, they’ll hold a mandatory seminar for you and your employees. You’ll be beaten with brightly colored rubber mallets while Matt Cutts repeats “create a compelling and outstanding business” in a dull monotone through a tinny speaker for several hours.
If that doesn’t work, they’ll simply reassign you to the local Arby’s and bring in the Googlebots.
3. Wallet-Verified Ownership
Sure, you can verify your listing now. And go through a secret police style interrogation that ensures you own the location. And now we know that’s not quite secure enough to trust you. But in the (near) future, you can verify with a wallet! For the low low low fee of $29.99 a month, you can be assured that Google will not randomly and viciously change the very information that you verified!
I’m not sure this one is a joke.
In conclusion, Places can be a real pain. But with experienced, battle-hardened pros like those at Oneupweb, you can be sure that your listings will steer clear of the malicious machinations in Mountain View.