This afternoon Google rolled out a new mobile Google Places for Business app that allows management of a business’s Google Plus listing via Android.
From the Google Play description:
Keep your business listing fresh and up-to-date across Google with the free Google Places for Business app:
– Update your business information, including hours, address, contact information, photos and description
– Keep your customers in the know by posting updates and photos
– Respond to comments and +1’s on your posts
– Learn how customers find and interact with your business with insights
– Manage multiple business locations from one app
The app shows the way for the new dashboard to provide an integrated experience to the SMB that wants to interact with all aspects of their listing as well as their public social stream from one unified interface. In that sense it might be providing a look at what the desktop dashboard might become.
The interface, like the desktop Places for Business Dashboard, is intuitive and easy to use. Unlike the desktop dashboard, this product is fully integrated with the Plus social stream and allows for social posts that include photos and for social responses. For those businesses that have a social presence and would like to keep it updated frequently with photos it offers a compelling solution.
There are some limits to the product
– U.S. listings only
– Business must already have the new dashboard
– no iPhone version
Besides the lack of an iPhone app and the inability to respond to reviews, the rap against the app is the same criticism that I have of the desktop dashboard – it just doesn’t do that much that would compel a business owner to return regularly to check in. If their business doesn’t have a strong social presence and doesn’t have a need for regular photo uploads (which is most local businesses), the app and the Places for Business dashboard desktop provide little reason for regular visits to Places.
That being said, the Places Dashboard was built as a platform for the future and is able to readily be expanded with new functionality. One presumes that the mobile version is similarly designed. Google has not provided many reasons in the past for a business to continually check into their dashboard. This had lead to a situation where the listing data gets stale, the SMB understanding and appreciation of the product is decreased, passwords are lost and there is little opportunity for Google to entice the SMB with additional functionality, paid or otherwise.
My sense is that Google understands this and will, at some point in the future, provide increasing functionality to the SMB. Here’s hoping its sooner rather than later and that once Google gets past the very painful transition from the old to the new Places that we will see steady and valuable updates to the dashboards both mobile and desktop.
Here are some additional points provided to me by Google about the app:
Continue reading Google Rolls Out Android Mobile Places Dashboard App