One of the more interesting questions that flies around the Internet is just how involved in the social web Google will be. Will it be a full-blown social effort? Google’s efforts in the past to create standalone collaborative products have ended in the burial of Google Wave. Google Buzz is a non-issue in the social space so if history is any indication this kind of thing is not their strong suit.
What is Google’s strong suit though, are their Place Page efforts. As with all things data related on the Internet it is a work in progress but that work just took a turn with the announcement of Google’s Hotpot offering.
So you are aware, that is not a misspelling. It is Hotpot (not Hotspot which would have made infinitely more sense but what do we know?). The idea of this new service is to allow users to utilize Place Page listings to put reviews and to get review information from friends in a separate Hotpot / Place Profile.
There are three main ingredients, as Google puts it, to this new recommendation and review machine. They are:
1. Google Places
2. Places You like
3. Places Your Friends Like
We are not going to run you through the details of just how the entire system works. Google has plenty of documentation around that process and it can be found by first starting at the Google LatLong blog.
What we at UBL are most interested in is the continued focus and importance being placed on Google Place Pages. Never before has it been more important for businesses, destinations and anything else with a place page listing to have control over that listing.
Did you know that of the 50 million place pages that Google has only 4 million or so have been verified? That means that less than 10% of these listings are in the control of the business owner. That means there is no chance for them to respond directly to reviews that occur inside Google Maps. That means there is no chance to use Google Boost. That means there is no chance to use other marketing tools like coupons and tags to get more business from the Internet.
In short, Google’s announcement for Hotpot may not set the review world on fire on its own. However, feel free to speculate about what kind of boost a data set like Google Places could provide to a location based service like foursquare who is trying to figure how to move beyond basic ‘check-ins’.
Of course, it’s important to remember as well that the growing animosity and competitiveness between Facebook and Google is real. Facebook’s Places offering is getting very close to Google’s turf and it is likely that Google will be firing back with whatever they need to ensure they are not totally eclipsed in the social space.
Regardless, local search will be important and the data that is available about your business will need to be uniform and controlled if you are going to have success in online marketing.
Whether you are an agency looking to do this work for clients or you are a business of any size we at Universal Business Listings can help you take and keep control of this important online aspect of your total marketing needs.
Email us today for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.