Google has made it simpler for businesses of all sizes to manage their location information on Google Search, Maps and Ads.
The company this week introduced a new API that it says will make it easier for businesses to integrate with the company's Google My Business platform and publish updates on their business locations.
The Google My Business API makes it easier for companies to publish updates on a change to Google Search and Maps in store hours, a move to a new location or special holiday hours for a particular store, the company said.
Developers can use the new API to create business locations on Google Search and Maps that offer richer details about their brick-and-mortar stores, along with photos and information on special hours and closed or new locations. They can also use the API to invite or remove people from the list of managers that are approved to update company information on My Business, Google's description of the new API noted.
While managers can edit or create locations in Google My Business using the new API, they cannot verify locations using it, according to a Google description. To do that, managers will still go through Google's standard verification processes, including via postcard and mobile phone.
In order to use the API, managers require at least a basic knowledge of how to build a Web service using what are known as RESTful APIs, or representational state transfer APIs, according to the company.
Google touts its Google My Business service as a way for businesses to directly connect with customers via the company's Search, Maps and Google+ platforms. The company has claimed the tool makes it easier for businesses to be discovered especially on local searches and on platforms like Google Maps and on YouTube. It has touted My Business as a vehicle through which companies can deliver targeted and contextual ads to people doing local searches on Google for products or services that are related to its business.
Google's premise is that such visibility can help drive traffic and ultimately more sales for local businesses. In a survey Google conducted last year along with Ipsos MediaCT, the company said it found that four in five consumers prefer search ads to be customized to their immediate surroundings.
Typical searches on computers and smartphones are for details like a store's location, business hours, direction and product availability, according to Google. More than six in 10 consumers said they have used location information in ads and used the call button in the ads to call the business using their mobile phones.
According to Google, the results of its survey showed that 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their mobile devices tended to visit the local store they searched for within a day. Some 34 percent of searches conducted over desktops yielded the same result. Local searches also resulted in more purchases than non-local searches with 18 percent of the former resulting in consumers actually buying something compared to 7 percent in the case of non-local searches.