Google announced on 1st Sep/2010 about “Branded Map Icons”. It is one of the facntastic move to enhance user experience. Now, it will be really very easy to recognize what you are searching for. Google began testing the enhancement in Australia in March and Google decided to extend the feature to the U.S. after interest from American advertisers. The sponsored icons project launches with four U.S. advertisers: Bank of America, HSBC, Target and Public Storage. Google will be charging on CPM basis. The “CPM rate varies for each advertiser based on the number of locations they have on the map, the popularity of these locations, prominence of the locations, and other factors.
Google has officially announced that Local Business Center is becoming Google Place. Earlier, it was launched in Sep/2009 in more than 50 million places but today is complete launch throughout. Google places will allow and extend flexibility to manage listing more diligently. Google is making continuous efforts so that better and better service can be provided to users.
New features that has been added to “Google Places” kitty:
1. Service areas – You can share your geo information even if you don’t have any physical office or store.
2. Paid listing: Very reasonably $25 per month. Listing will be displayed as tags and as of now this service is available in Austin, Atlanta, Washington, D.C, Houston and San Jose, CA. If enhanced local listing is not available in your city then you should fill in form to get notification as and when it will be launched (https://services.google.com/fb/forms/locallistingadscontact/)
3. Business photo shoots: It is awesome feature; you can apply today for a Google photo shoot of your business. Business photo shoots is currently available in selected cities of US, Australia and Japan. Visit: http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/faq.html#q3 for more information.
4. QR codes: Google also added “QR code,” which you can have printed on business cards or anywhere else. The code enables those with QR readers in their phones or other devices to go directly to your website. It will be unique to every business.
5. Real time updates: It is really cool feature which is already doing well. Sometimes, businessmen want to promote any sale or want to post a time sensitive coupon and you want that your customer can come to know right away then “Real time updates” is going to provide you good help as this feature lets you communicate that directly to your customers in real time.