January 31, 2011

Tips for creating a free business listing in Google Places: business types

Are you curious about what kind of businesses are eligible to appear in the free listings that appear on Google and Google Maps? In this second post in our blog series about how to create a clear and effective business listing via Google Places, we’ll help you to determine if Google Places is right for your business.

Business types and models that work with Google Places

Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorized to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our quality guidelines.

Having a physical address means that your business has a specific location (typically including a street name and a street number), can be visited by potential customers or business partners, and has a specific phone number at that location where you can be reached during operating hours. Including your physical address in your free business listing helps customers figure out where they can find you.

Examples of business listings displayed on Google Maps

Businesses that aren’t right for Google Places

Here are a few examples of business types that are not currently eligible to use Google Places:
  • Web shops that operate exclusively online and have no office for visitor traffic or direct client interaction
  • Businesses without actual physical locations (your living room, the airfield where you offer paragliding lessons, nor the river where your rafting tours start do not qualify as business locations)
  • Companies with non-permanent locations like a farmers market stall, a mobile hot dog vendor, or a one-time concert event at a local cafĂ©
  • Real estate companies that don’t have a central office and are trying to advertise individual apartments where no one can be reached in person or by phone

For operations like these, rather than appearing in Google and Google Maps search results associated with a physical location, other online tools might better fit your needs. One option is to advertise and generate awareness about your business activities through Google AdWords. This cost-effective program enables you to get the word out about your business, website or event via online ad campaigns, and does not require you to have a brick-and-mortar business address.

How to create a free listing if you’re eligible

If you’re a business with a physical office location that is open to customers and staffed both in person and via phone during regular business hours, we encourage you to create a free listing by signing in to Google Places here. For example, a real estate company with a corporate office can add the services it offers, the apartments it sells, and so on in the description field of the listing.

Be careful to create just one listing per physical location and to create listings only at places where your business is actually located. For example, if you run a DJ service and your office is at # 47 MK Road in Chennai, you should only add that location in Google Places, even if you also DJ at # 21 BG Road and at # 62 KT Street.

How to indicate service areas

For businesses that have one physical location but also offer their services elsewhere - such as the aforementioned businesses as well as locksmiths, translation services, delivery pizzerias, cleaning services and the like - you can use the Service Areas feature in your Google Places account. Marking a service area enables you to show your potential customers the range of places where you work.

Businesses that require travel to meet customers can define a radius around their main location or select specific areas they serve. If your main location is your home address and only used to receive business-related mail and phone calls, you can also hide that address and only show the service area in which you operate. This might be the case for babysitters, DJs, household services or IT repair services. Detailed instructions about how to set up this feature can be found in our help center.

Taxi and courier companies are particularly good examples for the use of the Service Areas feature. They offer a service that is location-independent and therefore shouldn't be associated with fixed locations on Google Maps. Even if you can find taxis often in front of train stations or airports, these are not locations owned by the business. The service area feature allows taxis to indicate the area in which they operate. If the taxis are coordinated over a dispatch centre, that can be listed as one physical location, otherwise the address should be hidden.

How to verify a listing

In order for your free business listing to appear on Google and Google Maps, you must verify your business via Google Places. This simple process includes providing a verification code by mail, automated call or text message. The phone number used for this process will be shown in your listing, so be sure that the number directs calls to your business.

We hope this information helps to explain our Google Places quality guidelines around setting up a free business listing. If you have any further questions about the types of businesses that are eligible for inclusion in Google Places, please visit our Google Places help forum.

Posted by Lina Paczensky, Local Search Quality

January 28, 2011

Google Map Maker catches World Cup Fever

Can you identify this stadium? Are you crazy enough about cricket to stay up late watching the last ball of any match? Do you drive/cycle/walk around a lot and love using maps to plan your moves? If you answered yes to either or both, then come help us map all 13 venues where the cricket world cup matches will be played; on Google Map Maker. Look at this example for inspiration!

Many cricket fans will be visiting these stadiums for the first time, most of them would not have visited your city prior to this. As a true-blue cricket fan and as a connoisseur of your city, it would be great if you could map out the layout of the stadium including
  • Each stand in the stadium,
  • Parking lots in and around the stadium,
  • Nearby areas of interest, etc.
You could add a feather in the cap of your city by also mapping out all important roads leading in to and out of the stadium from all major locations in the city (for example, the road from the airport to the stadium). You can also collaborate with other users mapping in your countries.

Considering the nature of the crowd that will be coming in to the stadiums you might also consider mapping all the waterholes around the stadium along with the best restaurants and hotels (who knows, one of these might even be hosting the teams playing!)

If you need pointers, see how other mappers are going about mapping out their favorite stadiums. And if you are too late to map one of the 13 venues, remember there are other great stadiums you can help with.

January 20, 2011

Google To Run Internet Awareness Program In Gowtham Model Schools

Google will work with Gowtham Model Schools across Andhra Pradesh to provide students and parents a first hand experience of the Internet, and how it can be beneficial to their lives through the Google Internet Bus school outreach program.

The school outreach program comprises of a team of two people with laptops and projectors who will visit all fifty Gowtham Model schools and showcase informative content both in English and Telugu. The campaign will run for a total of 45 days and is expected to reach out to more than 50,000 students and their parents.

This initiative is part of Google’s program to spread awareness about the Internet. Google Internet Bus is a custom designed Internet enabled bus, which aims at educating people about the Internet and how it may be beneficial to their lives, by taking the Internet experience to them in their preferred language.

“We are very proud to be partnering with Google on this special Internet education program. The program will enable our GMS students and their parents to learn about the Internet and be up to date on the latest technology happenings. We are extending this program to the whole of Andhra Pradesh and educating over 50,000 people. ” said Mr. M.Venkata Narayana, Chairman, K12 Techno Services Pvt Ltd.

Commenting on this collaboration, Abhishek Bapna, Product Manager, Google India said, "We are extremely excited about this collaboration with Gowtham Model Schools. We have learnt a lot about the Internet habits of Indian users from the Internet bus. Our experience with the various states that we have visited reinforced our belief that awareness is one of the key challenges in the growth of the Internet in India. With this collaboration, we hope to increase the awareness about the Internet and how it can enhance the lives of people.”

The Google Internet bus that has so far covered 10 states in India and touched over 1.2 million Indians. Google aims to replicate the success in other states – providing them with a platform to experience the Internet.

Posted by Nishant Nair, Project Manager, Google India.

January 12, 2011

Meet the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

Your votes are in. The professionals have had their say. And now, 101 people from more than 30 countries around the world are heading to Sydney Opera House to perform together in March as the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011.

These final 101 outstanding musicians — who range in age from 14 to 49, and hail from five different continents — have emerged from the 336 finalists selected last month by partner orchestras worldwide (including London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Sydney Symphony). Your votes on those finalists then helped artistic advisor Michael Tilson Thomas and composer Mason Bates settle on the final line-up.

Among the final group is a vuvuzela-fixated trombonist from Germany, an Arizona-based clarinetist who has never left the U.S. and a Guzheng player from China, whose instrument is one a lot of the world has never seen or heard before. They’ll come together from March 14 to prepare for a final performance on Sunday, March 20, which will be streamed live to the world on YouTube.

We want to open up every stage of the orchestra process. We called for auditions from around the world on YouTube and were blown away by the amazing videos we received in response; the YouTube community voted on their favorites and visited the channel in their millions; and now we’re inviting you to join the winning musicians as they begin their creative journey to Sydney. We’ll post their videos and behind-the-scenes footage of the orchestra — from rehearsal and master classes to performance — to the YouTube Symphony channel, and to our mobile apps (which you can download on the Android Market by searching for 'YouTube Symphony Orchestra' or Apple App Store). In March we’ll start broadcasting from Sydney, so tune in!

Next stop: Sydney.

Posted by Jamie Dolling, Marketing Manager, recently watched “Synergy: Unsung Heroes”.

January 11, 2011

Rajan Anandan to lead Google India

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Rajan Anandan as Vice President of India Sales and Operations.

Rajan brings to Google India an impressive pedigree of hi-tech and leadership expertise, as well as degrees from Stanford and MIT. His 18-year career includes key roles at Microsoft, Dell and McKinsey & Company. Says Daniel Alegre, President, Japan and Asia-Pacific Operations,"We always hire the best talent available. India is an important growth country for Google. We were voted the best company to work for in India and we are hiring across functions. With Internet users growing at 50% year-on-year, a strong leadership team will ensure that Google captures this tremendous opportunity. We are happy to have a leader of Rajan’s seniority and calibre to manage and lead it to the next phase of growth."

Most recently Rajan was MD of Microsoft India, responsible for all aspects of Microsoft’s software, OEM and services business in India. Under his leadership, Microsoft India was recognized as the Number 1 subsidiary among the emerging markets worldwide (China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and India).

Prior to joining Microsoft, Rajan was the Vice President and Country General Manager of Dell in India where he grew the Dell business from $250 million to over $800 million and several leadership roles including being the Executive Assistant to Chairman Michael Dell. Before that, he was a Partner with McKinsey & Company in Chicago. He holds an MSc from Stanford and a BSc from MIT.

Shailesh Rao, who has been covering those two roles, that of the Japan and Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Media and Platform Sales and Managing Director and Head of Sales, Google India, will remain in Gurgaon and move full-time to the former to deliver on the exciting growth plans for that business. Shailesh has been instrumental in getting India off the ground from a start-up to a scaled-up and successful business operation, with revenues and headcount growing substantially.

We would like to thank him for his achievements and dedication to the India business.

Posted by Daniel Alegre,
VP, JAPAC Operations

January 3, 2011

Google Transit comes to Pune

Today I'm happy to report that we've added Pune city bus service (PMPML) public transport information to Google Maps. Public transport is a vital part of the infrastructure that makes our cities run efficiently, and can help mitigate congestion, environmental concerns, and increasing energy costs. But until recently, access to that information has been more difficult than it needs to be. This lead us to the fundamental goal of the Google Transit project: make public transit information as easy to find as any other geographic information.

With a daily ridership of approximately 1 million passengers, PMPML is the second Indian Bus service to launch on Google Maps. Commuters in Pune can now find out bus schedules and routes for 320 of PMPML buses via Google Maps on desktop and mobile. The easy access of this service helps commuters and tourists find their way around the city using buses. As an example, here is the route from Pune University to MG Road.

How would the Google Transit work for commuters of Pune’s PMPML

As Google Maps provide integrated services like local information, driving directions for commuters, with Transit, Pune PMPML commuters would be able to receive information in the following way:

  • The user searches for information to reach from Place A to B on Google Maps

  • The result shows a map with the possible route and driving directions for the commuter

  • By choosing the transit option, commuters would get first hand information on Pune’s routes and schedules

  • Commuters get to see the step by step directions for the entire route including frequency, travel duration for each leg of the trip in text and on the map.

Transit is now launched in over 500 cities around the world including in Delhi where we partnered with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation earlier this year to launch Delhi Metro routes on Google Maps and in Bangalore we partnered with BMTC to launch Bangalore Bus routes.

So next time you are in Pune and want to plan your trip whether from Baner phata to Hinjewadi or from Hotel Le Meridien to Parvati Hill, adopt an environment friendly way to commute by taking a bus.

Posted by Kiran Bapna, New Business Development & Manik Gupta, Product Manager, Google Maps & Local Search, Google India.