Google on Wednesday introduced a redesigned Google My Business for Android and iOS that turns the app into a social network with features that personalize the consumer experience with businesses.
The next evolution begins with a search such as “dinner spots near me” that serves up a wealth of information in a business profile such as location and business hours, as well as photos and reviews. The business can respond to those reviews to begin a one-on-one conversation with consumers.
Google connects people to nearby businesses more than 9 billion times each month, including more than 1 billion phone calls and 3 billion direction requests to stores.
Now, for the first time, businesses will have the ability to build a following, similar to social media, and reach their followers with content from Google My Business.
In Google My Business, the “For You” tab is only available on Android in a few countries for now, but there are future plans to roll out to iOS users in the near future.
Reporting is part of the update through the Insights tab, giving businesses the ability to track views, searches, and actions. It also tracks when people search for directions, when they visit the website, and when they view a photo.
A new customer tab allows businesses to see and connect with their customers, including their followers, to see reviews and retrieve messages.
Businesses also will see messages from users who have used the "message" button on Maps and Search to connect with them. And now businesses will have the ability to respond to those messages from within the Google My Business app, where they are already managing their business information.
Messaging was previously limited to the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and India, but now the feature has become available in most countries worldwide.
The app also supports a new Posts button that lets businesses upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to the company’s business profile on Google. Companies also can manage their business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch the edits appear across Search and Maps.
In this announcement, Google also rebranded its business listings and local panels to Business Profiles on Google.
Users have called the business profiles different things over the years, but Google believes “profile” is the best word to describe information that displays on Google Maps and Search, explains Curtis Galloway, engineering manager at Google My Business.