Over the weekend, I received a credible rumor from one of the larger companies I work with. Purportedly, they were contacted by their Google Ads rep and urged to purchase more advertising now, inadvance of some “big changes” planned to happen on October 1.
It’s still early, and I haven’t been able to confirm this rumor as of yet, despite putting out feelers to a number of sources. However, it feels believable because Google Plus has promised rollout of business Plus pages at some point, and it would make very good sense in the case of local businesses to have their Google Place pages coordinated with their Google+ profiles/interfaces. I could easily see update streams incorporated into the layout of Place pages, replacing the wimpy status updates that have been on the page thus far.
It’s those business updates which I believe are one of the main areas that would almost certainly be set to change as Google rolls out Plus for businesses. They currently allow 160-character update messages to be posted, but they don’t allow for images, links/tags, or other content. I think this part of the Google Places dashboard might be going away, or might be sharply modified to become synchronous with Google+.
Finally, I think we might see some sort of additional UI treatment in Google Place Search results and/or in Google Maps search results. If you consider that Google desires to promote use of the service, if recent status updates were allowed to be made voluntarily visible to appear in the search results with the business listing, this could be a considerable incentive to integrate with the service.
But, what do you think? Have you also heard some rumors of “something big” to emerge in Google Maps? If so, what incarnation do you think it might take?
At this point, we can’t know much more than that, but the topic makes me want to conjecture about how such a tie-in might look and function.
Without knowing anything further, I’d conjecture that for local businesses, the Google+ page might need to be very closely tied to their Google Plus page. Might they be merged in this new release?