Google recently announced that it is incorporating photos of businesses in StreetView with Google Maps listings. I think this is great, except that there is one potential problem. What if StreetView has the wrong photo of a business or the wrong photo is uploaded to Google Maps and that confuses searchers who are looking for a particular business on a particular street in your town.
I imagine the following scenario taking place:
- Service Clerk: Hi, welcome to XYZ Local Business. May I help you?
Customer: Oh, I looked for your business on Google Maps and was so confused when the photo of the building didn’t look a thing like yours. I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out if I was in the right place or not.
Clerk: Sorry to hear that. I can see how that would be confusing. I’ll have to let the owner of the business know about that.
Owner: (Walking into the store from the back room) About what?
Customer: I found your business in Google Maps and the photo in StreetView looked nothing like this building. It confused me. I didn’t know if I had the right business or not.
Clerk: She said she spent 30 minutes in the area looking around to see if she was in the right place.
Customer: Yes. I wasn’t sure. I kept driving up and down the street looking for the right building because the one in Google Maps didn’t look like this one at all.
Owner: Gee, I didn’t even know they had a picture of the building up there. We’ve had that listing in Google Maps for three years. That must be a recent development.
Customer: Well, you might end up losing some business if you don’t get the right picture up there. Not everyone is going to be as stubborn and persistent as I am.
Owner: True. Thank you for telling me.
And this business owner’s photo could have been up for six months before he ever found out it was even there, and the photo may not even be of the right business. It could be of another business on another street.
That’s a possibility, not an accusation. I’m sure Google will go through ever length that it can to ensure accuracy of representation, but we all know that the search engine has erred before. Google Maps are not always accurate in the directions, are they?
The task for small business owners is to monitor Google Maps a little more closely to ensure the above scenario doesn’t take place. And if it does then you can act quickly.