Oct 142011

Today after Google announced that they will start notifying verified business owners of changes that occur on their Google Places listings, actual emails were sent to some of our clients. The subject of the emails is “Your listing on Google Places will soon be updated” and they go like this:

Google Logo in the Google Places Changes Notification Email

Your listing on Google Places will soon be updated

Dear Google Places user,

Google will soon update your listing data on our consumer properties such as Google and Google Maps to more accurately reflect the latest information we have about your business.

We use many sources to determine the accuracy of our listing data and to provide the best possible experience for business owners and consumers who use Google and Google Maps to find local information.

Below is a summary of what your listing(s) will contain once it’s updated in the next few weeks. This will be visible on your Place page and listings across Google properties, but it will not be reflected in your Google Places account:

(Business name here)
(Address here)
(Phone number here)
(Website here)

If the above information is not accurate, please sign in to Google Places. You may prevent any of these changes from being made on your Place page and listing by selecting “Edit”, and then pressing the “Submit” button to confirm the correct information about your business.

If you submit data to Google via a feed, please ensure that the data in your feed is accurate and current. Note that you must update listing data in your feed to prevent changes from being made to the above listings.

Note that if you are an AdWords or AdWords Express customer, your ads will be unaffected by this change and will continue to display the listing information you have provided in Google Places. To manage your online advertisements, please sign into Google Places or Google AdWords.

For more information about updates to claimed listings, please visit: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1318197

The Google Places Team

In the first few seconds reading this I thought that it was spam and it was too good to be true, but no – it really is Google who sent it. They have apparently made a great effort to solve one of the greatest issues that plagued Google Places! This easily is the best Google Places-related news I’ve ever heard!

There are two very important details in this notification:

1) The business owner has a “few weeks” to act.

2) The business owner can actually prevent the changes from happening by simply logging in to their Google Places dashboard, going to the edit menu and clicking “Submit” at the bottom.

Furthermore, in the link that Google provides at the end of the email they claim that notifications will be sent for more than just the listing details mentioned in the upper part of the email. They will also be notifying users for changes in the “pin marker location” and if a place is marked as “Permanently closed”.

I believe what Googlers have done is practically the best possible solution – they give a few weeks notice to the business owner to react, and if they don’t – they update the information to the one they consider more up-to-date. This is what so many businesses and Google Places specialists have been asking and waiting for ever since the dawn of Google Places (in any of its forms). Now is possibly the right time to say a big “THANK YOU” to Google and especially to the Google Places team for this.

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