Whenever we begin working with a client on their local search engine optimization strategy, we often get a lot of questions about the many Google products used to manage their local profile. And it’s perfectly understandable! To start, there’s Google+, Google Maps, Google My Business…but what is the difference between these products?
After doing a bit of research, what I found was that there was very little information about the evolution of Google Local products, especially where businesses are concerned.
So I went down a very deep rabbit hole and found an overwhelming amount of historical information and represented it in the infographic below.
The Historical Evolution of Google My Business
Click to see the infographic in detail.
- March 2004 – Google Local is released as a better solution to the common business listing directory, such as the Yellow Pages. It combined the name, address, and phone number of a business with maps, directions, and webpages.
- February 2005 – Google Maps is released, a visually-appealing, interactive online map with lots of features.
- March 2005 – Google Local Business Center launches which allows businesses to update their listings as they appear on Google Local to ensure accuracy.
- October 2005 – Google Maps and Google Local merge under the name Google Local.
- April 2006 – Recognizing the confusion of Google users, Google changes Google Local to Google Maps.
- March 2007 – Google Local Business Center receives a major update to allow businesses the ability to more easily change their Google Business Listing to how it appeared in Google Maps.
- September 2009 – Google Place Pages for Google Maps is introduced.
- November 2010 – Google launches Hotpot which is intended to function as a social recommendation engine powered by Google Places. Connects users to places you’ve visited and recommend, and places your friends have recommended.
- April 2011 – Google decides to roll Hotpot into Google Places, where Google Places assumes the features of Hotpot plus many more.
- June 2011 – Google+ is launched. Initially intended to compete with social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, over the years Google+ has evolved into a platform that allows users to manage multiple Google products with a single login.
- November 2011 – Google+ Pages launched to allow businesses the ability to connect with their fans, similarly to how Facebook Business pages functioned. Google+ Your Business and Google+ Brand pages were introduced into Google users’ lexicon.
- May 2012 – Google+ Local launches to replace Google Places Pages. Businesses with an existing listing within Google Place page, managed through the Google Local Business Center, were automatically converted into Google+ Local pages. A “Local” tab also appeared within the dashboard of a Google+ user. As a result of this change, Google+ Business Pages and Google+ Local (previously known as Google Places Pages) are two different pages, and were managed separately. (Mass Google-related confusion ensues.)
- August 2012 – Google announces the ability to merge your Google+ business and Google+ local pages, though the process was quite tedious and many users lost reviews and local rankings if the merge was not done correctly.
- April 2013 – Google Places for Business (not to be confused with Google Places), receives a much needed interface upgrade for businesses making it easier for businesses to manage their Google+ pages.
- June 2014 – Google creates Google My Business, replacing the Google Places for Business and Google+ Local dashboards, allowing users to input business information in one place rather than duplicate effort across other Google products.
Stay in the loop with future Google Local developments by subscribing to the blog, and if you have any questions about your business’s Google Local presence, feel free to submit a comment or get in touch with me via the website!