Here is a comprehensive visual overview, with comments, of the new Places for Business Dashboard. I was provided with a test account by Google.
The new interface takes “widget” approach to all functionality. Editing data is a widget as are G+, Adwords Express and Offers. That implies that many more “widgets” will make their way in the new Dashboard:
Click through to see the full range of screens from the new product.
The listing “widget” provides a tabbed interface to the editor and analytics. Lots of room in that tab for more functionality. Note the array of feedback provided (same as the Plus editing environment).
This upgrade DOES allow for service area businesses to hide their address and if they so choose to get a G+ Page with their address hidden. The verbiage also makes clear whether the business accepts walk ins or not AND provides contextual help. This is a huge improvement.
Many, many more contact options are available so one presumes that things like email address will once again show on the Local+ page.
Categories, while no longer accepting custom categories, do allow up to 10 categories to be input. Since they no longer accept custom categories it is unclear why they included the “your business is, not what it does” instructions from the guidelines.
Updated 4/16: Hours
still only accepts relatively standard hour formats, no split or seasonal hours are supported. The options for split hours are very flexible. A business can have as many split hours on a given day or range of days as they would like. The UI, while not obvious for this feature, is very easy to use once I realized that I could “add another set of hours” to any day or days.
Apparently, the approval pipeline for photos though will still be several weeks. Hopefully that will improve over time.
Photo uploads now use the improved G+ photo upload interface and allow for drag and drop uploads.
The description editor allows for rich text and urls. The more rich text you add, the more likely that it will require longer moderation and that the system will choke on it.
Analytics offer the same information. Hopefully the underlying code is improved and the data that is shown is accurate and represents all of Google properties. Unfortunately there is a paucity of information. Until this report is better integrated with their trusted, full blown Analytics product, advanced users will be suspicious.
When you are claiming an additional business the interface provided asks for more complete information than just phone number and gives additional “clues” to SAB businesses.
Once the data is matched up with an existing business, the user is given the choice of selecting the business or creating a new listing.
If the listing is already claimed the user is driven through an arbitration process of some sort. Apparently a business can no longer be claimed into multiple accounts any longer. Hooray!!!
Now disputes and lost accounts appear that they will be arbitrated by the support team. A great reason to use an email address at your domain.
Once a business is successfully entered, the system will provide post card, SMS or phone verification. Remember, like in the current environment, phone verification will only be used when Google has a high level of trust about a business.
The user is then offered the option of adding a contact name to the post card.
The user is then alerted to wait for the pin and given meaningful time lines.
An envelope, postmarked as Bellmawr, NJ, was received within 5 days.
Inside the envelope is a folded letter providing you instructions and a PIN number.
Once a second business has been entered, the user is shown a multi business management interface.
When you claim a listing by clicking on the “IS THIS YOUR BUSINESS? Manage this page” link on the listing your are presented with this screen:
Visual Guide to the new Places for Business Dashboard by Mike Blumenthal