Google Testing Hangout Chats in Local

TechCrunch and SEL are reporting Google testing of  a live chat button appearing on business’s local Knowledge Panel.

This program is apparently part of a test with a limited number of businesses. It has been around at least since mid November when an invitee asked me about problems he was having with the test.

google-places-chat

Here is the copy of the email that he had received from Google around mid November inviting him to participate in the test:

Use Hangouts with your Google+ page

Google Hangouts can make it easier for your customers to reach out to your business with a Hangouts chat message. When customers are looking for you on Google Maps or Search, they’ll find a button to chat with you.

This feature is currently limited to a small number of business that have been invited to test it. Opting-in to this feature will allow customers to chat with you by changing the “customize invites” setting for your business. If you don’t want to participate in the trial anymore, you can opt out in settings for your business in Hangouts.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Testing Hangout Chats in Local by

9 thoughts on “Google Testing Hangout Chats in Local”

  1. Hello Mike,
    It’s very clear that Google has added this feature for better user experience but what’s the real intention behind it ! Is it going to affect the ranking of business in Google SERP in future who will prefer to opt out ? Thanks.

  2. Google runs a risk by showing “chat” in their results if the business doesn’t answer. Google might be blamed. I can see lots of issues using it widely and or as a ranking signal. More likely a paid per use product?

  3. Is it just for local search? It seems many local businesses would be too busy taking care of clients within their storefronts to participate much in hangout chats. I’m not sure it is a good fit.

  4. I think it’s a great idea if implemented properly. Something to really get ‘some’ SMB’s interested in engaging with their G+ Pages in a more robust and positive way. Really interested to see where this goes 🙂

  5. The idea is incredible but it is not clear that the chicken egg problem can be solved.

    Both the user AND the store owner need to buy into the idea. The user needs to be trained to use the function (marketing, marketing, education, marketing….which Google doesn’t always do).

    The store owner needs to know that the feature exists and be available to answer.

    Lots of moving parts from here to there.

  6. I think this is going to be really cool Live chat button would enable contact with various businesses a lot more quicker and simpler. This is one of the best innovations I have seen in Google search listings in the recent years. How I can get myself invited to test this?

  7. This feature is turned on for one of our hotels, but the text goes to me, part of the management company, and there’s no back end routing features or any real way to control it. I am not even sure how to turn it off. It’s interesting… I get a LOT of questions… but as of now there’s no way to get it to the property itself. It’s disappointing. It freaks my GM out. Any updates about this?

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