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Google my Business VS. Google Places – What’s changed in 2014?

Google My Business – What’s the Big Deal?

Several days ago, Google dropped a bomb of a surprise on the search engine marketing community with the unveiling of its new “Google My Business” overhaul of its Google Places/Maps/Local/Plus Local hodgepodge of business services offerings. So, what’s new in Google My Business? Is this merely another addition to the name soup that Google’s been stewing for a while, or is there some good functionality to be found in this product release? Read on as we dive in.

A Little Background

2011 Places (multiple listings) Dashboard.

The 2011 Places (multiple listings) Dashboard.
Click for a larger view.

If you’ve been in the SEM business for more than a couple of years, you’re probably familiar with the older version of Google Places, and you may be familiar with Google’s acquisition of Zagat at the end of 2011, culminating in the creation of Google Local. Prior to May 30, 2012, Google Places was the center of all business interactions with Google’s local search platform. Google Places had gone through several changes at that point, but the overall look was largely utilitarian and functional, with few design flourishes. The layout I’m most familiar with is the vintage layout from 2011, which is the layout that probably had the longest run, staying fairly consistent from the service’s debut in 2010 (following the old Place Pages launch in 2009) through 2013. In 2012, there were a few layout changes, but it remained relatively static until 2013, when it was rolled into Google+ Local (though it was originally scheduled to be shut down in 2012).

The 2011/2012 Places Dashboard (single listing). Look at all of that useful data!
The 2011/2012 Places Dashboard (single listing). Look at all of that useful data! Click for a larger view.

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