Customers are the heart of any business. We all know that, but now Google said so — so we know its true.
Managing customers across a number of different channels, however, is difficult. To help businesses do just that, Google has launched Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) offers business the ability to manage at least the Google channels including Search, Maps and Google Plus.
Given the number of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that are using Google to connect with customers, the only thing surprising about this is the fact Google hasn’t introduced something like it before.
Connecting Businesses and Customers
According to a blog post about the release, the purpose of GMB is to connect businesses with their customers, something that can be a time-consuming and complex problem without the right tools.
Google claims that the development of GMB was driven by the complaints from users of its services — in particular business users —over their inability to contact “loyal customers” who are also using Google services.
The Internet is connecting more businesses with their people every day. However, our users tell us that finding these loyal customers can be complex and time-consuming. We believe it shouldn’t be."
Now users of Google Plus, for example, are now able to connect directly with followers and provide news and updates that will also be available across other Google services.
It also provides a way for businesses to understand how people find and interact with them using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express, all of which can be done while mobile using the GMB Android app. A similar iOS app will be released some time in the future.
In addition to this, those businesses that have been using Places for Business and Google Plus will be moved to the new platform.
Google Data Harvesting
But it’s not just Google users that are benefiting from this, Google is going to be using it too to compile business information that all its different services can use to provide better business profiles across all its properties.
If Google is depending on accurate data about businesses and users to develop more accurate and personalized ad campaigns, then this is the perfect companion for those campaigns.
The availability of such information for the creation of ads cannot be overestimated as Google search users tend to ignore all but the first few results that are thrown up during a search.
This will be particularly important for mobile search and ads where only the first few entries are visible in the first place and with Google increasingly dependent on make money from mobile ads, this release goes to one of the core areas of Googles revenue generation.
If this is just the latest move by Google to capture personal and business data — and we don’t want to get into the whole Gmail content scanning row again right now — it surely won’t be the last.
With Google I/O conference only a couple of weeks away, there are already reports that it is looking at setting up a mobile health data service.
Just like Apple's HealthKit on iOS 8 and Samsung's S Health app, Google Fit is said to provide a repository of health data taken from smartphone apps and wearable devices.
While it’s a sure bet that Google won’t be promoting this a way to harvest personal data about users health and health needs, the potential for targeted advertising here is enormous and extremely lucrative. How much health data, though, are you will to share? Let’s wait a see at I/O 2014.