Google has expanded its Google My Business service for businesses, and at the same time taken aim at Facebook’s Pages service, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The service lets people “follow” businesses and message them, as well as get updates about promotions and specials. The company is now adding more tools to the service, with the goal of attracting even more follows and customers.
“We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs — from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google,” Google said in a blog post. “Today, we’re rolling out more features to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.”
Google My Business was started five years ago, and was meant to be used with Google+, which was shut down. Now Google wants to help customers and businesses connect through its most popular services.
“Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business. With this URL, businesses can easily refer customers back to their Profile — to catch up on latest updates, to make a booking or to write a review after a visit,” Google said. “In the coming months, people will also be able to search short names in Maps.”
Other features include the ability to create logos: “Businesses have an additional branding opportunity with the logo feature. Those that have completed their core information (phone number, hours, etc) will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.”
Businesses can use a new dynamic photo display and also create offline materials. Google also will designate some businesses as “Local Favorites.”
“We want to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. We’ll be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. To help people easily find and engage with these businesses, we’re also creating digital and physical badges of honors.”