A few weeks ago I highlighted a disturbing offer to remove your competitors from Google Places for just $5. Not long after, Mike Blumenthal wrote a post discussing companies being marked as “permanently closed” – presumably by competitors. Amazingly, anyone on the web is allowed to make this type of update. He then very mischievously marked Google’s headquarters as closed.
One of the biggest complaints has been not just that anyone who feels like it can update your Google Places listing – but that there was no way to know it happened, outside of obsessively checking your listing multiple times a day. For once however, Google has listened – Linda Buquet reports that the company is now sending out emails to Places that are being updated. It’s still not quite real customer service, but it’s something. Google has a support page on the subject, which says:
If we receive more recent information about your business, we’ll automatically update your listing on our sites (like Google Search and Google Maps). We hope that this not only helps customers find accurate information about your business, but also makes it easier for you to keep your information updated online.
Each time your listing is updated, you’ll receive an email notification that a change will happen on your external business listing within the next 4 weeks. You won’t be notified again when the change is published online.
This is a nice improvement, and its great to see Google being responsive to a problem affecting many businesses. Of course, you won’t see these updates if Google doesn’t know a Place is yours – so make sure to claim your Google Places Page if you haven’t already.