Google wants to create a better business directory and, this time, they mean business.
On Thursday the tech giant launched Google My Business, a one-stop way for merchants to manage their presence on a variety of the company’s properties including search, maps and Google+.
Business owners that had been using Places for Business or Google+ will be transitioned to the new platform. There is also an Android app that can be used to manage business information and respond to customer reviews.
“The Internet is connecting more businesses with their people every day. However, our users tell us that finding these loyal customers can be complex and time-consuming. We believe it shouldn’t be,” Google posted in a blog entry.
Google lauds the program as a way for businesses to better understand their customers and cater to their needs. The new system will integrate with Google’s AdWords platform and provide businesses with data about customers and engagement.
The program is a simple way for Google to compile accurate business information that its various properties can then use to improve its other properties. Having a directory of accurate and easily referenced business data should be particularly helpful for mobile and contextual search, which heavily relies on combining user data with search results to provide better results.
Users already tend to ignore search results past the first few items. One study found that the first three returns of a search receive about 60% of the traffic.
Mobile search is an important part of the future for Google, which made its name as a search engine. Desktop search is expected to decline as mobile search grows — a trend that has already had an impact on Google’s revenue.
Google isn’t the only tech company to try to embrace businesses. Yahoo has also made moves to bolster its mobile search offering, partnering with Yelp to provide information that will be similar to the data compiled by Google My Business.
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