MapMaker Announces A New Bot to Fix Map Maker – Plus Page Inconsistencies

Last week, the Google MapMaker team announced (thanks to Forum TC Treebles for a heads up on this) a new bot whose purpose is to help fix Map Maker – Plus Page inconsistencies. The bot is called the “Mapmaker Syncer”.

The purpose of the change is to lay the foundation for better and quicker synchornization between MapMaker and the Google+ local/Maps listings. But like all bots unleashed in MapMaker, there appears to be a dispute about whether overall data quality has improved or been set back… the reality appears to be best stated by this poster in the MM forum: “Technically, the bad data was already there in some database, and now that the databases are synchronized (or are being synchronized), you have a chance to get rid of the bad data and have the changes you make in Map Maker elsewhere.” Like with all of these changes it will create an improvement for some users and a wild ride for others.

Here is the full announcement:

Dear users –

As several of you must be aware, local business listings information provided by Google is synthesized from a few different sources. Among these sources is Map Maker, with the content coming directly from all of you.

The data collected by these multiple sources resides in databases that are algorithmically kept in-sync. On occasion, however, some content across these databases may not synchronize as desired and lead to annoying data issues.As a  first step to address this problem, we have been working on improving the quality, frequency and speed of the process that reconciles these data bases. We have made a significant adjustment and before rolling it out, wanted to let you all know about this and any changes this might cause.

As a one-time event, you will see (might have seen these yesterday, depending on your time zone) bot edits that lead to either minor changes to the current data or add additional attributes to the data.This will only impact local business listings. In both cases, the bot will synchronize the data you see on Map Maker with what you see in Google Maps or Google Plus Pages. This creates the foundation to then launch new logic and systems that will synchronize the two data sets faster and more frequently. Kindly note that this step in itself is only part of the solution – it is the necessary first step – to fix many other issues that several of you have identified relating to inconsistent data between what you see on Plus Pages (previously Place Pages) and Map Maker.
While we have tried to ensure correct operation, it is possible that there may be some unintended issues. If you do notice any, please let us know on the forums so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As a Map Maker user myself, here’s wishing that the bot does not get crazy along the way anywhere….I will be keeping a close eye out along with some of the team here.
Jayanth, Product Manager of Map Maker – on behalf of the Map Maker team
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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7 thoughts on “MapMaker Announces A New Bot to Fix Map Maker – Plus Page Inconsistencies”

  1. Thanks for the heads up and thanks to Treebles for mentioning it to you for publication.

    This clearly affects SMB’s. Yet, I looked at one acct with a claimed record:

    1. I didn’t get an email.
    2. Didn’t get notification about it.
    3. Didn’t see it referenced anywhere within this vast array of Google “products”.
    4. There is no reference of it in my google Places Acct.

    As Jayanth, MM Product manager said at the end of his announcement when explaining it had to do with G Places type information: “here’s wishing that the bot does not get crazy along the way anywhere

    😀 Well so much for informing all those millions of accounts that claimed their Places Listings.

    Google: Its not just that you don’t basically offer customer service like a real business…..but some weak facsimile its that you don’t communicate…worth SH!t.

    so I’ll be checking all my accounts. I check every day just to see if they are up. Since Jayanth’s announcement was a week ago and they are still UP (fingers crossed) I’m not expecting to see anything outrageous or different…..but who knows.

    All I can say is that its a good thing you are communicating for them. Because they don’t.

    (btw: how much does a Google communications person earn? Any googlers want to comment??? Do they get stock? Do they get juicy bennies.)

    Hey googlers…while you are gorging on those bennies….Blumenthal over here is doing YOUR WORK.

    SEND HIM SOME MONEY. he’s earned it.


  2. @Russ

    The edit that you asked be approved was an edit that violates Google’s guidelines and will likely lead to a loss of rank.

    Like any algo even if it gets 90% right, a passing grade in 7th grade and apparently in big data, it will get 10% wrong…

  3. This is good news. I have found discrepancies between Map Maker and Plus Pages for about 90% of my clients. I have gone thru each account meticulously and the most common issue are the categories in both. My dentists are now florists, the auto repair shops are now glass and mirror shops, etc.
    Very frustrating and time consuming.

    Thanks, I needed a mini-rant

  4. @Trina:

    What have been the consequences of those issues?

    1. Are records being taken down b/c of the issues?
    2. Are dupes being created?
    3. Are the smb’s getting unwanted inappropriate traffic (based on keywords)?
    4. Is bad contact info affecting the records?
    5. Are the records rankings in appropriate pacs seemingly losing ranking because of too many inappropriate categories?

    It is a pita no doubt. But I’m curious as to the REAL issues for the smb’s?

    We have a variety of somewhat unusual businesses that historically didn’t fit with traditionally set up categories initially set up by the hard cover YP’s. They are in two broad categories, home/house services and education.

    Over time the smb’s records aggregated and accumulated a wide variety of categories. I think they all arrived due to the information from YP sources into Places and probably into MM. I know I didn’t originate any of them.

    I never saw a negative attached to them. We received virtually no traffic for them from a keyword perspective….and I couldn’t calculate that they devalued rankings in G Places or G Maps, if it did so, for the highly relevant phrases.

    At one point several years ago we started seeing a totally inappropriate category in the G Places dashboard. It had ZERO relevance to the smb business and we had ZERO traffic from keywords attached to that category.

    At that time I had an email account that was getting some responsiveness from the then google places team. I found a Page on the web with inappropriate category attached to the SMB. The google places team “detached” the web page (and category) from the site.

    ZERO impact on the business. The only impact was that the Places Dashboard info (a virtually worthless piece of info IMHO)…stopped showing impressions for that category.

    Did it negatively impact our rankings for relevant categories? NO.

    So I’m curious, what are the consequences of negative categories?

    Could anyone expound on this? Besides Mike, and other readers…how about if a Googler chipped in!!!

  5. @ earlpearl

    What have been the consequences of those issues?

    1. Are records being taken down b/c of the issues? – No
    2. Are dupes being created? No
    3. Are the smb’s getting unwanted inappropriate traffic (based on keywords)? – Not that I am aware of
    4. Is bad contact info affecting the records? – No but I did have one strange thing happen. The street name of one of my clients was changed somehow to a street a half block away. The only thing I can attribute to this is that their own street had major construction going on and there was a detour a half block away on the very street that started appearing in their Plus page. I verified the client did not change it themselves. I was able to make the edit but it took about 2 weeks for the correct street to start showing up again.
    5. Are the records rankings in appropriate pacs seemingly losing ranking because of too many inappropriate categories? – Yes. Keywords get changed, they stop showing up in the SERP’s, I make the appropriate edits in Google Maps and/or Map Maker, and they start placing again.

    I’m just going to keep up on this issue and correct problems as I go. Outside of that, I’m going to take Google’s advice and sit tight and wait for the dust to settle.


  6. Thanks, Trina:

    It hit me as to exactly What are the consequences with regard to inappropriate or extra categories:

    Your response is helpful and insightful. With regard to Question 5 above…did you lose the appropriate categories and were they replaced by inappropriate categories?

    In my cases we’ve seen crazy expansion of categories…but we have not lost the key categories so we simply haven’t seen negative consequences as you described relative to question #5.

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