Several interesting and developments last week from Google in the Local space.
Google declares the end of Panoramio and the rise of Google Views: With the release of Google Views, the new Map integrated photo application, Google has declared that they will wind down Panoramio as they wind up Views.
Of course there is an uproar in the Panoramio community and the founders have created a petition to stop the closing. Not only will the many comments from Panoramio be lost but the strong community there will be as well. Google has never been very good at keeping these niche communities alive when they integrate the functionality directly into their mainstream products. I wish the founders the best of luck in their petition drive but if history tells us anything its that the axe is a common tool in Google’s tool box. They have nothing on the Game of Thrones.
Google Tests Call Reporting in Local: A feature that has long been requested and one for which Google has long had the data, it was noted last week by Owen Kane that Google was showing Call data in the Google My Business dashboard last week.
Apparently the feature is not yet finalized as Google noted: Nice catch! We’re constantly testing out new features for Google My Business. This one hasn’t officially launched yet, but we’ll share new feature updates when they become more permanently available in the dashboard.
“Edit Details” Feature Gone? No More Mini-MapMaker?: Colan Nielson of Imprezzion Marketing has noted on Linda’s forum that the “Edit Details” link now directs users over to the much more limited Google Maps report a problem feature rather than to the MapMaker interface that has been in use since February, 2013.
The change means that the edits are going directly to Google for editing and are no longer going to be handled within the MapMaker community. This is one in a long line of recent “demotions” to the volunteer editors at MapMaker. And a return of the the black hole where there is no public accountability of the edits. Can Google really respond to each report? Seems unlikely. “Pissing in the ocean” is the maxim that comes to mind.
Facebook now showing in the Google “Reviews From Around the Web”: Google is obviously scraping and now showing on the G+Page and the Knowledge Panel, links to reviews from Facebook Local Pages. If you had any doubt about whether you should use Facebook in your review strategy, you should doubt no longer. More tomorrow.
Last Week in Google Local by Mike Blumenthal