Friday, June 1, 2012

Google's + Local is Just a Social Network Gig

Google's Catastrophic Screw Up

Inside: "Most companies are doing this unaware that they are signing up for a Social Network, and are not consulting their staff about what to do."

Google's New "Google + Local" program was basically kicked off in typical Google Fashion: by nerds in Google Land.  Most of the writing to date has been rather sparse, because the Tech writers and bloggers were caught unaware of this massive shift in Google Search. Here's a great example: SAI posted an article this morning, ranting about Google, but the author doesn't even mention this tectonic shift either he is unaware or had this article in the can, and didn't want to update it for relevance.  I threw a link up on my site when it happened, and have tried to remain ahead of the curve. Going so far as to make the link in bold nasty print:  "UPDATE". 

Basically, anytime anyone anywhere logs into a Google Product, like Gmail, or Searches for anything having logged in even three days ago, they are immediately forced to sign up for a Google + Account!

Thinly Disguised Product Forces You To Sign Up for Google's Social Network

This is fantastic at it's core, and probably even violates anti trust laws.  Since Google is the undisputed king of search, I find it a bit distasteful in the very least that they are using their weight to force people to open an Account on what is Google's fledgling and third rate Social Media Site:  Google +.   The site has signed up about 40 million users, and most of the research indicates that users open an account but never use Google +.  Early adopters were allowed in, and we had to be "invited" by one of the chosen few.  This means that the first level of users have thousands of followers in their Circles, and the rest of us were left to gnaw on the bones.

My own ranting aside, there is something very odd about this transition.  And it strikes me as not only very, very bad PR and Marketing, but poor Search Engine Optimisation as well.  And since search IS Google's primary function, this is equally disturbing from a very practical, and sociological point of view.

Bear in mind folks, Google has done away with Google Places.  Most end users don't know what that is.  When we go into Google and search for instance, "Dry Cleaners, Chicago"  we are using Places.  This has been the primary driver of Google's focus for years, and the way that SEO Specialists, Google Certified Trainers, Marketing Professionals, and Advertising Gurus, not to mention Madison Avenue big time firms have done business.

And with this decision, POOOF!!!  Places is completely eliminated, and integrated wholly into Google + Local, with no announcement, no training, and no discussion.  Nobody even seems to know how to use the thing properly!!

And this is where the catastrophic screw up really occurs down on the street level:  Who checks the mail in most professional offices?  It's the Administrative Assistant.   Rare is the Doctor, Lawyer, Judge, Manager, or other Professional who does not have a first tier screener check the mail for garbage, spam, or unwanted solicitations.

How Does Google + Local and Facebook "Promoted" Posts Effect Small Businesses?

So Google in it's infinite wisdom (and rush to sign up people for it's Social Network, Google +)  now has people setting up business pages all over the planet, and what's really embarassing, is that those pages have nobody in their circles, and nobody has any content on these pages.  From a search standpoint, you have millions of people entering information  into Google's databases at an unprecedented  rate, and they don't even know the implications are, what strategy to implement, or even if they should have a strategy.  Most companies are doing this unaware that they are signing up for a Social Network, and are not consulting their staff about what to do.   It's probably the most bullying I've seen in years by any big Internet company, and yet, it's also amateurish overtly obvious manipulation.  Maybe this is why they did it with no preamble?  To avoid the public outcry and Federal Regulators?

In any event, if you go to search a company and find absolutely nothing on their Google + page, send them my way, I'll fix it for them.  For a fee of course.  I don't work free, and undoing what Sally Smith typed in yesterday may take a lot more effort and many hours of creative thinking than the 5 minutes she spent on screwing it up.

 Here's an example.  A client created her own page without realising the implications.  She left the "T" off the end of the word: "Street" and so there is the Google+ page, created with a misspelled word, and I have to go back in and fix it. Not a big deal. But the business page was in her personal name, and she was opening the mail for her Plastic Surgeon boss.  Now that is a problem, and a big one. She innocently did what Google directed her to do when checking her mail.

Now, multiply this by the many Google Accounts I have, and you get the idea.  Remember, there was no ramp up, no alert, no notice given.  Google just did this two days ago. There is no "How To" ... We are left to our own devices.  Google doesn't even supply a FAQ because nobody has had a chance to accumulate any questions.

Then there is the testing.  When we go back into search to "Test" the account, we are asked to open another Google+ account, just to check to see if the last one we created is working?  What in the world was Google thinking?

Well, you read it here first.  Most of the article writing, as I said is non existent. A search for the term on Google for the words: "Google + Local" (if you are logged in) will bring you to local restaurants. If you log out?  It will bring you amazingly to Google Places or Google Maps as apparantly Google never set up a centralized dump for this particular roll out.

I hope I have put you ahead of the pack by a few days.

Have a great weekend. 

Google + Local Created, Google Places Listings are Affected


Lon Dunn writes on Evan Carmichael as a productivity and efficiency expert. He wrote and edited The Thesaurus News from 1995 to 2001 with a specialty in Telephony Infastructure Stocks. With over 20 years following the Mobile Industry, Lon helps Companies, Professionals and Organizations develop Mobile Marketing Strategies combined with Social Media Strategies to strategically target specific markets and demographics to rapidly increase revenues. His most recent book available on Amazon is “How to Use Twitter for Local Business” with Tips and Mobile Marketing Strategies that anyone can do themselves. You can download the free “Kindle App for PC to download the book to your Desktop available on the Kindle Site:

If you leave a comment, please leave your Twitter Handle, So I can get back to you.


  1. great tips for me, i should share with my friends

  2. I never thought about it like that. I joined Google+ as I was getting a GMail account. Then I just used it as a way to click on another share button on articles I liked. It wasn't until recently that I decided to actually try to learn and use it it as a social platform.
    As it turns out, I really like it! To me, it seems a little more sophisticated than Facebook and the Nearby feature is a great way to connect with people in your own town. Also, I do 99% of my posting, tweeting and plussing from my iPhone and the mobile app is super shiny and super clean.

  3. Great view on Google+ local. Really it contains great facts inside.

    Thank you,