Google recently announced that they would be making significant updates in the Google Places user dashboard, but so far, the attitude shared among businesses on Google Places is generally unimpressed. Unfortunately for Google Places users and developers alike, it seems to be too early to judge whether or not the changes can be considered an improvement. While the verdict remains undecided, here are a few things you should keep in mind when exploring the updated Google Places dashboard:
The updated dashboard is immediately available to newly created and newly verified business locations in the United States. Existing users will have to remain patient for the updates to be rolled out to older verified listings. For the time being, availability is limited to locations within the United States.
This new dashboard has severely improved the relationship between Google Places and Google+ Local listings. Now data from your Google Places listing is fed directly into the Google Knowledge Graph, making it easier to manage across Google apps. At the same time, Google is advising businesses to not merge their Google Places and Google+ Local pages just yet. The plan seems to be to eventually implement an “Upgrade” option to make the merge and data migration as simple as possible.
The new dashboard interface advises users with tips for completing the fields of their listing; however, there has also been a decrease in number of overall fields, meaning less options for customization. On the other hand, Google is adding new listing options for service area businesses for the first time.
All updates made through the new Google Places dashboard should be reflected live within 48 hours; however, anticipate photo updates to take longer, and users will now be required to use a personal Google+ account in order to add video content to their listing.
A bone of contention among users who already have access to this new dashboard is that the analytics reported on Google+ listings are still weak and in need of improvement; however, search engine experts are advising patience. It seems as though this is just the first phase of SEO-friendly updates being rolled out by Google, and users should anticipate greater improvements over time.