Tag Archives: Google Local

Recap of New Google Features December 15 2014

Helping businesses and individual with video, community management, and social media, Andrew Ledford 562-423-1691

Google has been very busy over the last couple of weeks. I have posted about a couple of Google’s new features on this blog. Because of this week’s Google post I plan on sharing my general business social media news next Monday. Today it’s all about Google.

One new features is the ability to pin posts to the top of a G+ page or profile. I imagine this will come in handy for those who post to Google Plus on a regular basis. Pinning an important post to the top of a page will keep critical content from becoming buried.

The other new Google feature I mentioned in a post is the new Google CAPTCHA ‘NoCAPTCHA. A CAPTCHA is that annoying cryptic code that is often needed to prove a person is really human. The problem with some of the CAPTCHAs is that there are now machine that are better at deciphering them than some people. Google is using big data to combat this problem with a new and improver version.

The Biggest News From Google
Probably the most important news from Google occurred when I did not have time to write about. This huge and monumental news will affect all businesses that have a local presents.
Google changed their rules and guidelines for Local / Maps listings.

There are now firm guidelines for businesses that have multiple location as well as businesses that have separate department at the same location.

It does look like the new guideline may cause a good deal of confusion in their implementation. The new guidelines are bound to cause problems, just like the problems that were caused when Google Places became Google Local tied to a Google Plus account.

Another huge change is Google maps. Now everyone is forced to use the new maps. This has some benefits for webmasters and business owners. However, I think it is not as user friendly as the old maps for the average user. I find the features of the old maps that I relied on for my everyday life and business are now not available.

Map features from the official Google support page
Now you can also add these enhanced maps to your Google drive

I believe you can also access your maps on Google drive in your Gmail.

Of much less significance is that there has been a slight design change to the notification bell on our Google Plus pages and profile.

New Google Notification Bell December 2014
New Google Notification Bell December 2014
Notification In New Google Notifications Bell December 2014
Notification In New Google Notifications Bell December 2014

There are a few tricks to navigating with the new notification tray and bell icon. You can still read posts from the new notification tray, but once an item has been clicked on it goes to the old notification try, the lower old bell. Another way to put everything from the new notification tray to the old one is to click on the Mark All As Read icon. I suggest not doing that. clicking the Mark All As Read will make it impossible to find people who have newly circled you.

Google Plus New Notification Tray Don't click on Marked As Read If You Want To See Who Has Circled You
Google Plus New Notification Tray Don’t click on Marked As Read If You Want To See Who Has Circled You


New Notification Tray Marked As Read Icon
New Notification Tray Marked As Read Icon
You Can Still Read Posts From The New Notification Tray The same way as before
You Can Still Read Posts From The New Notification Tray The same way as before
New Notification Tray After Clicking Marked As Read
New Notification Tray After Clicking Marked As Read
Reading Post From The Old Notification Tray
Reading Post From The Old Notification Tray

Reading a post from the old notification tray will take you the post’s page.
I leave the computer for an hour and Google Plus changes.

Google sends out a notice that they are “reverting back to the original notifications experience.”

It looks like on the afternoon of December 16 the old notification bell and tray have vanished. Now we only have one Notification bell and one notification tray. From what I see it looks like the new notification has most of the features of the old one. I have seen some different behavior of the notifications over the last 10 minutes, but it’s probably the bugs being worked out of the new system. I think I better wait a while to finish updating this post

Re-shared post also received a new look and some new features.
Now you have the opportunity to directly comment on a shared post from the notification window. This can be handy for thanking the person that shared. This feature is also good for adding additional commentary to a shared post. It looks like this feature is no longer available.

Reshared Google Plus Post 12-2014 showing annotation of shares on original post with link back to original
Reshared Google Plus Post 12-2014 showing annotation of shares on original post with link back to original post

In addition to commenting from notifications you will now see the number of comments the original post has received with a link back to the original post. The shared post is also surrounded by a grey box.

Another fairly new feature is that the image card now supports a 735×1102 sized portrait image. I haven’t tried this feature yet so I still need to experiment with this one.

One new feature that I do not like is that there is no longer infinite scrolling on your page stream. Infinite scrolling still seems to work for a personal profile. I thought this may be a glitch that would be worked out, but I now think it is a new feature of pages.

Andrew Ledford
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Google Local Business Pages and Reviews

I am fixing some issues with my old Google Places listing and the new Google Local listing associated with my G+ account. Some of the complexities of this integration has led me to investigate Google Places, Local, and Business pages a bit more than I had in the past.

My Adaptive Dog Training  Google Plus Page
My Adaptive Dog Training Google Plus Page

The new inquiry has led to some rather tedious research on local Google Plus users. In the market I am investigating I have found some interesting and for marketers disturbing trends.

About 40% of the businesses in the industry I am researching have integrated their Google Places listing with the newer Google Local G+ Business Page. Out of those who have moved to the new Google Plus Local only 22 percent have a business profile picture. As we would expect even a smaller number make regular updates.

Google Local Business Reviews

I have been looking at local reviews to get an idea of their quality and how active reviewers are on G+. I am only looking at reviews that have a profile connected to them and that also contain a profile picture. Out of those the majority have no activity on their accounts. The ones that do have activity are predominantly YouTube posts.

About 3 in a 100 seem to be somewhat active and about 1 in 200 have been active within the last 30 days. Out of all the profiles I looked at only 6 have used G+ within the last 10 days and 3 are actively posting every couple of days.

Most people who were active stopped using G+ between July and October of 2013

I have also come across several accounts were they only do reviews with no other activity. The industry I was researching did not have the blatant paid reviews I have seen in the car industry. There were quite a few reviews that appear to be from customers who only used Google to review the business in question. I can understand this in a business where the client has a real relationship with the business. While they were not numerous, accounts with multiple reviews and no other activity where noticeable. These accounts make me wonder why people only review companies but don’t interact in any other way on G+.

My conclusion is that many people only use G+ for the utility of non social Google services. I imagine the owners of those profiles I looked at are more active on FaceBook. But this is purely speculation.

I am continuing my experiment by following a little over a 100 profiles. I plan to follow these accounts for several months to see if businesses use of Google Plus increases as well as use by the general public.

My Google Plus Accounts that may be of interest
Andrew Ledford
My Business Lunch Club page
My Dog Training Business Page