Google launches yet another tool to get SMBs online

Google has launched Google My Business to encourage businesses without a website to get online, as well as to complement existing businesses with an online presence.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Google has announced the global launch of Google My Business as the "next evolution" of its existing products, Google Places for Business and Google+ Pages Dashboard.

Google My Business is a free service to give business owners the opportunity list their business information on Search, Maps, and Google+, including address, contact numbers, and hours of operation, as well as photos. 

According to Rich Flanagan, Google Australia head of small and medium businesses marketing, an online presence for any business is "absolutely vital".

"We think back to just a couple of generations when it was unthinkable if a small business didn't have a phone in order to be connected with people who were interested in them, and we think nowadays it's that same message for getting an online presence, whether it's a website or a Google My Business profile.

"We think online is the rocket fuel for businesses, and they absolutely need to think about having a presence."

Flanagan said Google My Business is useful for two batches of businesses: those that do not have a website yet or those that do have a website.

"It really does allow you to show up on Google search, maps, and Google+ for one stop shopping," he said.

"If you already have a website it just complements what you're already doing on the Google Search results page. Your website will show up, but other elements of your Google My Business profile will show up as well, like photos, ratings, and reviews. So it just adds in extra information your customers might want to see."

While Flanagan was not able to disclose exactly how many Australian businesses are already listed Google, the company is upgrading current users on Google Places for Business and the Google+ Dashboard to Google My Business.

"This is really just the next evolution of those products," he said.

"What we've heard from our customers and the businesses on their products is that they wanted a way to reduce those complexities around those products. We wanted to bring together the best of what all those products offer onto a single platform that business can access from a desktop or their mobile device."

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