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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Was Google’s Promise to Correct GeoSpatial Data in 30 days Too Optimistic?

My test* of Google’s ability to correct and update geospatial data is in. They passed, but just barely. While a passing grade may suffice in French class, I am not sure that it is sufficient in this case.

Google’s long term business plans are predicated on the ability to deliver local ads to mobile users. For that to happen accurately, Google needs to know not only about the existence of a business but where it is located on the globe. To gain control over this critical underlying information, Google, in early October, replaced TeleAtlas’s road and street data with their own. As part of that upgrade Google promised that reports of Map errors would be fixed in 30 days.

On October 30th, I reported the fact to Google that the address 201 N Union St. was located roughly 3000′ to the north of its actual location. This resulted in the 30 some odd offices located in the building (with the exception of mine which had been changed in the LBC) all showing as being located at the other end of town. On November 3, Google acknowledged the accuracy of my claim with a timely email. Corrections appeared to moving along as planned.

The good news? Yesterday, at 1:50 pm, Google reported that the reported issue has been fixed. The bad news? While the street address resolves correctly in Maps, none of the businesses yet do. This is likely an indexing alignment issue and will resolve itself in another week or two. Does it matter to the user getting bad driving directions? Not a bit, they will be angered regardless of the technical explanation.


My grade on their efforts? A C+ or maybe a -B. Much better than TeleAtlas ever did by a long shot and with reasonable user feedback. That being said here is why I am downgrading them to a C.

Firstly, it has been 45 days, not the promised 30 to a fix. My father (a retail animal) always instructed us to under promise and over deliver. That should be a dictum that Google adopts as its own. If it is going to take 45 days then say 60 and folks will be surprised at how quickly it was done. Saying 30 and taking 45 on the other hand, just engenders scorn.

Secondly, finish the job before reporting out. Just because one index is updated, the whole problem needs to be solved before it is really solved.

Thirdly, and this is why the grade might be on the lower side, getting Maps right is the future of Google. Behave like your competitive lives depend on it, because they do! Say what you mean, mean what you say and execute.

Google bought into a huge maintenance and upkeep problem when they decided to replace TeleAtlas as their provider of underlying geodata. It was obviously perceived as a critical technology to bring in house and justly so. That being said, if they are going to do it, do it right. The market is a tough task master and I do not think anything less than an A+ will suffice to keep Google in a market leading position going forward. Any lesser result will mean failure.

*My sample size is one, arguably too small to make a judgement. I have more requests into Google which I will follow as well. Perhaps larger metro areas have been prioritized and fixed in the time offered.

My response: Even if one is this late, that is too many. The user base does not understand sampling and the time to completion stated should be the maximum time in any case.