Google Places is Focused on Photos: What’s That Mean For You?

Google Places Pictures

I posted yesterday that Google released an update to Google Maps for Android.

What struck me about the update was that the very first bullet in their list of features for the app is the ability to upload photos for Places. This, coming right after the desktop Google Places update that also prioritized an “upload a photo button.”

What Photo Buttons?

Google Places on the Desktop - 2 Large "Upload A Photo" Buttons Above The Fold

Google Maps Android Add A Photo Button

The App Only Gets 1 Button, But That's A Lot On A Small Screen

These updates come on top of Google’s business photos program, where Google will send a photographer to take photos of your business for free (and potentially include a 360 degree interior view of your company on Maps. The company is trying hard to get all the photos it can find.

Why So Much Effort For Photos?

There are a couple good reasons for Google to go after user photos.

People Like Pictures

Google’s announcement of the “add a photo” feature for the Google Maps app included this comment:

When deciding on a place to go, people often want to know what a place looks like in addition to seeing ratings and reviews.

My guess is Google has some user-data showing that people really like to look at the photos. This will vary by category, but they are very nice in some areas – check out the hotel site, Oyster.com for a look at how great photos can really be worth thousands of words.

Decrease Reliance on 3rd Party Sources

One of the biggest changes seen on Places Pages recently was the removal of 3rd party reviews. There has been debate whether this is due to anti-trust issues or for internal reasons, but either way they clearly decided not to rely on these external sources.

Photos on Google Places currently rely heavily on 3rd party sites (they have hundreds of pictures of each hotel in some cities… 80% due to Oyster having covered those cities). If a business owner has not uploaded a photo, the photo shown is usually from a 3rd party site, although there are increasingly some photos provided by Google users.

My suspicion with both reviews and photos is that anti-trust may have some role, but their real goal is to establish a competitive advantage by having the best information. And you can’t have better information than anyone else when you just scrape other sites. They clearly see photos as an important complement to reviews and ratings.

So What Should A Business Owner Do?

To start, go claim your Places page. Fill it out completely, with lots of high-quality photos, and sign up for Google’s business photos program if you can (it’s limited to select cities).

Once your side is complete, think about if there is any way to get customers uploading pictures to your Places Page. There is a lot of controversy around incentivizing reviews, but I’ve never heard anyone say you can’t run a contest for the best photo of your business (or the people having a good time there) on Google Places. For a bonus, have people send them up to your Facebook Page as well.

This will indicate to Google and Facebook that your customers are engaged and that your business should be prominently displayed, while showing potential customers how popular and great your company is as well.

Find this useful? Get site updates via RSS / Email or follow this site on Twitter / Facebook.
Need help? Small Business Shift provides website and online marketing services.

Tags: , ,

16 Responses to “Google Places is Focused on Photos: What’s That Mean For You?”

  1. JC July 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Yes! I like pics too and I prefere pics to texts! If there are no pics, the owner, let’s say of a coffee shop has either no further interest in online marketing (fool) or has someting to hide. Or the Place isn’t as popular as it seems, because no user has taken a pic yet.
    If I were a shop owner I would engage my customer to take pictures for Google, facebook, foursquare,….maybe I would even reward it.
    I think it’s a hugh opertunity for Online-Marketing! 🙂

  2. Dan July 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Face it; We’re a visual culture and we’re used to television, magazines and the Internet. We love pictures!! So, don’t think by resisting the masses you’re making some kind of statement about society. Really, do you want your business to succeed or not?

  3. make money online February 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Thank you for any other informative blog. Where else could I am getting that kind of info written in such an ideal means? I’ve a project that I am just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  4. health care reform February 24, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad
    and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  5. Tara February 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Yes! Finally something about online shopping uk.

  6. Howtolosebellyfat.Lo.Gs March 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    If you are going for best contents like I do, just go to see this web page
    everyday as it provides quality contents, thanks

  7. auto parts March 22, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be running off
    the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon.
    Thanks

  8. amino acids May 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you
    simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. natur May 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Beim gemütlichen Durcharbeiten vom Artikel “%BLOGTITLE”, dann
    merke ich, dass viel an Arbeit reingesteckt wurde.
    Das gefällt mir. Denn man sieht immer wieder
    viel zu viele durchschnittliche Postings auf den unterschiedlichen Internetseiten.
    Somit schön weitermachen und nicht beirren lassen. Das ist ganz bestimmt die richtige Richtung, wie du auch weiterhin so klasse Texte wie diesen hier
    erstellen kannst.

  10. Tomb Raider online kaufen June 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    I am really inspired with your writing abilities as smartly
    as with the structure in your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize
    it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent high quality writing,
    it’s rare to see a great weblog like this one these days..

  11. voyance amourvoyance online July 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Profitez d’une consultation de voyance totalment gratuite grâce à ce blog de médiums et d’informations sur l’astrologie.
    Une consultation de voyance va certainement faciliter votre vie, parce que ce celui qui découvre son avenir saura mieux profiter des petits plaisirs souvent négilgés.
    Les membres de notre centre d’astrologie sont expérimentés dans la voyance amour et dans la voyance du
    travail, et ils répondent avec plaisir à toutes les questions.

    Si vous êtes intéressé, passez à l’acte et contactez un des membres qui fait partie de notre équipe de voyance pour une prédiction personelle.
    Exclusif pour les nouveaux membres, nous offrons la première consultation directe durant 10 minutes.

  12. facebook vote July 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    This is a nice and valuable piece of information. I am glad which you discussed this beneficial data around. Please keep united states current similar to this. Many thanks for expressing.

  13. sky tv digital January 16, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    I know this website provides quality based articles or
    reviews and extra material, is there any other web page which offers these things in quality?

  14. colombian faja March 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Howdy! I know this is somewhat off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does operating a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work?
    I am brand new to operating a bpog hhowever I do write iin my jouurnal everyday.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can share mmy experience and
    thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions
    or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Apprteciate it!

  15. Gerard April 27, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across

    on this subject. Actually Great. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore
    I can understand your effort.

  16. Ivan Magdaleno August 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    ÎÑíÏ vpn,ÎÑíÏ kerio

Leave a Reply