It may be called "My Business," but Google's latest tool is meant to give small-business owners insight into their customers' business.
Google My Business, unveiled today, is a free online dashboard for small businesses to manage their online profiles across Google Maps, Google+, Search and other products. The tool allows companies to update their business information, post photos, share news and respond to customer reviews all from one place.
Perhaps its most useful function, the tool gives users insight into how people are finding and engaging with their business. One feature allows businesses to see what part of the city their customers are searching for driving directions from. Information like that could help a company make decisions about where to advertise or even open a second location, says Google marketing manager James Croom.
Users can also see reviews on their businesses on Google and other social review sites, such as Orbitz or TripAdvisor for hotels. They can respond directly to Google reviews from the My Business dashboard.
Once Google releases its mobile apps for Android and iOS later this summer, business owners will have access to these features on the go, plus the ability to take a photo from their mobile device and post straight to Google.