Google has started to open up the Google My Business API. The API allows “authorized representatives to manage business location information on Google that you can use with Ads, Search and Maps”. Currently the API can be used to edit individually verified locations but not bulk. The API will be able to manage Bulk verified listings in a future release.
Currently the API is limited to “AdWords API users who currently manage more than 50 business locations using AdWords manual feeds.” If you meet that criteria you can request access here. This limited availability is temporary and and will be available more broadly in future releases.
Google, in noting its increasing availability is essentially confirming something that I had confirmed several weeks ago and that was that it was in use by some users and that Google was traveling the globe talking to IYPs to better understand that future features needed.
While it is clear that locations can be created and edited via the API no mention is made of whether location specific Insights (analytics) will be available, whether the API will allow posting and what specific API calls are available. I have asked Google for clarification.
In the Google has added a post to the Ad Developers Blog that includes some additional information. The initial release is limited and the only “supported attributes are name, address, contact numbers, URL, categories, and business hours”.
Google also noted: “For developers managing AdWords accounts with a large number of locations for small and medium businesses, we recommend creating one Google My Business account as a central repository for all locations. Each physical location should be created only once. If different owners and managers are involved per location or for sets of locations, we suggest using Business Accounts“.
This is a strange recommendation given the many years of them recommending one account per business.
I was asked on G+ the purpose/value of an API. Many of you know but it bears repeating here.
Essentially Google is opening up ( some of?) the functionality of the dashboard to outside programmers.
Here are quick thoughts off the top as to possible uses. You could:
A) build a WordPress plugin that would allow your client to change their hours on their site and at Google at the same time with one step.
b) create a custom client dashboard that gives your clients access to Adwords, Analytics and GMB reports (but just the important stuff ) all on one screen.
c) a multi location plumber/SAB could deploy photos and description updates from an internal dashboard.
d) Companies like Moz Local, Yext or page builders could create additional functionality within their platforms by integrating their data with GMB.
We have to wait and see what API calls are available but it could lead to some interesting programs.