Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages – the way that businesses are being found today – with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.
It also announced a number of things in conjunction with the renaming:
- Enhanced listings (now “Tags”) is being expanded to new cities ($25 per month).
- Interior photography (previously speculated) is now available to SMBs and free, courtesy of Google
- Custom QR codes are available to be used in various ways by the SMB
- Favorite Places round 2
I’ve written about this in more detail at Search Engine Land.
What is also intriguing to me are some of the previously unpublished stats:
- More than 4 million business listings on Google claimed by business owners (using the Local Business Center, now Google Places)
- Nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States (10 million to go)
- 20% of searches on Google are related to location
- 50 million Place Pages
- Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day
Google’s own statement about the percentage of local searches is “20%.”
This number is larger than comScore’s estimate (11%-12%), which I have previously argued is conservative. I would even argue that Google’s number here is conservative. Even so it represents about 2.8 billion local queries on Google each month.
The image in my mind is of a football team storming out of the locker room and onto the field for the start of the second half. The company no doubt feels some additional pressure these days from a cadre of local intruders: Twitter, Facebook and the likes of Foursquare et al. This announcement seems to be a statement of greater resolve to go after local and SMBs more aggressively and effectively.
Will we see the return of the Google Reseller program? It’s not clear (although that’s been promised) but Google may feel it no longer needs it.