Google Dramatically Increases International Categories

Google’s categories for many international dashboards have been woefully inadequate. Fortunately Google has just announced a major increase in the number of categories available internationally.

Based on merchant feedback, we’ve been working to improve business categories. One of the key areas we thought we could quickly improve is expanding the breadth of available categories globally.

So you might be wondering: why hadn’t we already done that? Well, international business categorization is quite tricky. Imagine you’re planning a trip to Greece. When you search from the US, you’ll probably be using English, and you’ll see the categories of Greek businesses in English. However, those businesses in Greece were probably set in Greek using Places for Business in Greek. This means the Places for Business team has to translate and associate categories in many languages. As you can imagine, this can become very complicated very quickly.

Today, we are taking a first step of many to improve categories that merchants can use to represent their businesses. Specifically, we’re adding over 1,000 new categories in the new Places dashboard. These categories are available globally and translated to every language Google supports.

Last but not least, thanks to our Top Contributors and all the merchants who gave us great feedback. We’re indeed listening!

-Jade, Google Business Community Manager

(Note: posted from my iPhone while exercising. Please excuse any errors. )

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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11 thoughts on “Google Dramatically Increases International Categories”

  1. Thanks Mike, are you noticing any categories that offer a more descriptive category for any particular vertical?

  2. will you post these international categories in your database of other categories? I was searching for them, and checking places dashboard, but no luck.

  3. @John – in the meantime you can see the list of available categories by opening a listing in the New Places Dashboard, selecting the category field and viewing the page source.

    To see the categories of other countries is a little convoluted but possible using the same method.

  4. @keenan I tried but only get english results, and its ajax search, so no way to check source code. Its more complex.

    @mike If you get results, I can help you with merging with old categories, Im good in programming.

    Best regards.

  5. Hey Mike,

    I will have an intern getting the new German categories. You should receive them within this week.

    This is the method we’re using:
    – go into editing a place in mapmaker
    – click into a category field
    – type in ‘a’
    – use Google Chrome console to open the source code of the category field
    – copy the source code containing the ‘a’-categories
    – paste it into an Excel sheet
    – do that for the rest of the alphabet,
    – filter out the html
    – de-duplicate the list
    – order the list alphabetically
    – mail the list to mikeÄTTblumenthalsDOTTTTcom 😉


  6. Thanks for the info Mike. This is surely going to have a tremendous impact on sites in the way of traffic. With Google translate and now the new categories, I feel it is a great step forward. Just wondering if we would need to have both the foreign language and English categories or would Google automatically translate them? Have you an updates on it?

    1. @joe
      The new Google categories are standardized across all languages and automatically are translated and or localized… i.e. even if the category is in american english it will show in english english.

  7. Google’s job of having to bridge language, cultural, and geographical boundaries and contexts to create maps that work for everyone seems impossible, and it shows in many of the maps Google produces.

    I’ve had a tough time with clients in Costa Rica and other Latin countries. The addresses there are very unpredictable and not in any way standardized. It would be nice if Google could do more with GPS in addresses to ensure that the location is correct.

    Do you have any advice for finding a canonical solution when it comes to places with addresses similar to what they are in Latin America? The company name and phone number elements of the representing the business entity are straight forward enough, but the addresses are all over the board.

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