Google Maps Looking for Local Inventory

We don’t frequently get to peak at what Google plans are for local and local content.
my-maps-events
There have been a number of signals that all point to the obvious direction of Google wanting to increase the granularity of local information world wide and thir desire to control that information themselves. Google has been:
•Including more user generated listing content in Maps results.
•Including more user generated mapping data into Maps.
•Actively soliciting promotional events, political and social activities via Map Maker.

Clearly, Google needs and wants more granular information about things happening on the ground. It is no surprise that they would want hyper local inventory data as well.

In Google Cozies Up To SMBs For Digital Content, (thanks to Chris Silver Smith for the heads up) Laurie Sullivan recounts the presentation that Chris LaSala, Google director of local marketers and strategic partner development, provided this week at The Kelsey Group conference in Los Angeles. He noted “There’s a vast array of content specific to local markets, but the majority isn’t available in digital form, so getting access to it isn’t easy”. According to the article LaSala estimates that Google has indexed about 10% of the available digital content geared toward local markets. “If you look at Main Street USA–the barber, the church, the synagogue and the sports shop–you might get the hours of service and address,” he said. “But wouldn’t it be great if you find out if you could get an Alex Rodriguez rookie card? If you knew it was in the shop and the costs, you could go down to the store and buy it. This is just an example of where we are today.”

He apparently recognizes that Google has not done a great job of engaging local businesses and that many of their products don’t meet their needs.

To address this gap “there are plans to roll out new bundled services and APIs for SMBs that should align better with the philosophies of smaller companies”.

I would like tho think that we will be able to have all of this information readily and accurately available to us in the not to near future. But Google will only be able to provide this solution if and only if they can solve the fundamental problem of which businesses really are on the ground.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Looking for Local Inventory by

7 thoughts on “Google Maps Looking for Local Inventory”

  1. A few thoughts, Mike:

    If we could find out where to buy an Alex Rodriguez rookie card, would this mean that spammers would claim to have them in order to get us to come into their stores, in hopes that despite our disappointment, we might end up buying something else? Something akin to the ancient practice of KW stuffing a la 1998 in which putting every conceivable keyword into a meta tag just might get you some traffic!

    And, if it’s hard enough to get burned down businesses removed from maps, how hard would it be for changes in inventory to be reflected? Would business owners know how to keep this content updated so that when they sold out of rookie cards, their results would instantly reflect that?

  2. Yes it could be a new angle on the bait and switch…and what would legit store owners say when asking in the groups how long it would take for their update to show up and were told “6 to 8 weeks”

    I too am having a little trouble envisioning

  3. That was nice inspirational set of comments. Yeah….finding out on the web about unique inventory would be great….. BUT first things first.

    Get the 10 pac cleaned up. get rid of spam. Get categorization down pat. Get data cleaned up between old data and new data.

    btw: every time I see these comments about detail I think/reference to Yipit. I wonder how they are doing in giving greater detail on furniture stores in the NYC market?

    In developing that information….they don’t simultaneously have the problem of spamming that google maps has. hm…..might google have a better approach?

  4. I am with you…there is definitely a cart and horse issue. But someone needs to do some dreaming here. I am just not sure if its wishful thinking or post apocalypse planning.

    Mike

  5. Small businesses really care about their reputation. Sometimes more so than larger businesses. Owners are bound to have questions about adding or removing user content and the effect on their listing.

    If Google really wants to cater to SMB owners, they need to have a proper support system. Google Groups is not enough. Maybe allowing people to pay for their listings (like Yahoo local) and providing phone, chat or email support is the way to go. I know this is outside the normal Google model, but this is not the normal Google market.

    –Joe

  6. Joe
    I am not sure if you saw this post in which Google and readers discussed the issues of $ and local.

    They seem clearly disinclined to have a $ for support or inclusion model. But these are extraordinary circumstances and may require extraordinary solutions.

    Mike

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