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Businesses Lose Control of Their Info on Google Places

Businesses that place a heavy emphasis on Google Places listing in their web search strategies must take into account a startling change just introduced by Google. From now on, it announced, it will make a change to any data about the business if any user provides new information about that business they know — or Google’s system identifies information from another source on the web that may be more recent than the data the business owner provided via Google Places.

The listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change. Google is positioning this is a welcome relief to business owners that don’t have time to think about updating Places, and there is certainly a constituency of users that fall into that category.

However the system does open the door to mischief not to mention human error.

Zagat Fueled Traffic

Google Places is landing on more people’s radar - or it will - as Google integrates Zagat into its offerings.  When it announced the acquisition last month, Google said Zagat would be a cornerstone for Google's local offering. The content that Zagat brings to the table arguably closes the gap between Google Places and Yelp, wrote Search Engine Land at the time.

Yet Another Thing to Watch for Small Business Owners

Not that any user who makes a change will have the last word. As Google explains, if the business owner disagrees or has even more recent information, they can always directly log in to their Google Places account and make further edits. Also, online ads from business owners using AdWords or AdWords Express programs will not be affected by these automatic updates, Google said.

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