In today’s post, we are going to explore Google+ business pages, how their information is integrated into the latest Google Smartphone and what the implications of this are for businesses.
What is a Google+ Business Page?
Formerly known as Google Places, Business Pages are basically company profiles on Google+, the search engine’s own social media network. They are similar in nature to Facebook and Linkedin Company pages, in that they contain basic details about a business with the facility for the business to update the people that “follow” them via text, image or video status updates.
Google+ results on Google search results
Unlike Facebook or Linkedin business pages, Google+ local business information is displayed prominently in Google search results as well Google Maps. This year Google have gone one step further by providing local business details directly on the dialer of people’s phones!
Google+ results on Google Maps
Searching “Nearby Places” from your Android Dialer
The changes we’re going to talk about to the phone’s dialer, are only available on Google’s flagship Nexus 5 phone. This won’t be the case for long though, as this feature is sure to prove popular and be integrated into other phones running Android 4.4 Kitkat.
LEFT: A local business search from the dialer. RIGHT: An incoming call from a local business.
A phone’s dialer is the app that you use to make telephone calls. It allows you to dial numbers, search your contacts and view call history. The new Nexus 5 dialler is a little different though and will have a massive impact on how businesses (and soon enough, people) will be found. It will also affect how incoming calls appear on the phone’s display. Here’s the breakdown:
Business Name Search: Not only can you search for personal contacts saved on your SIM, Google account and social media accounts, but now you can search for any local business in the same way. When connected to the Internet, the dialer will connect with Google+ and search for companies in your local area with names matching your search term, returning potential matches along with their phone numbers. Once you find the business you’re looking for, just touch to dial it.
Business Category Search: If you enter a generic search term into the dialer’s search box, for example, “pizza” then the phone will locate nearby businesses that can provide that service, in this example, pizza restaurants, and list them according to it’s popularity algorithm. Again, swipe down till you find one that takes your fancy and touch to ring it!
Google Caller ID: The impact of the new dialer is also apparent for incoming calls. When a business calls someone with a Nexus 5 phone, the phone will look up the telephone number on Google+, if it finds a match then it will display the company’s name and Google+ profile image on the phone’s display.
How do I get my business on Google+?
It’s free to set up a Google+ business page and with the span of usage only increasing you’d be mad not to!
Just head to google.co.uk/business to get started. You’ll need to provide basic information about your business such as opening hours, address and most importantly a Google Maps pin of your location and your primary phone number. You also need to choose up to five classifications for your business from a list provided by Google e.g. Pizza restaurant, web designer, plumber. This is a really important bit to get right, as your business will show up when people in the local area search for that category of business. Try searching for “web desginer in jersey” on Google to see what I mean.
If this type of technology takes on then the need for paper and even online business directories will wain, with people being able to access the same information where they need it on their phone. While the new android dialer is only available on the very latest Google phone at the moment, it is sure to become mainstream in the coming months. Google’s roadmap is likely to include displaying individuals’ Google+ profile details in the same way, although this is only likely to be for those who enable this in their Google+ privacy settings.
I think we can confidently say, that the days of the yellow pages, phone book and even online business directory are numbered. Where will Google strike next?