Local Search

Google Places: Review Widget Rolling Out Worldwide

By November 25, 2013 12 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.41.12 PMToday's worldwide rollout of the Google Places for Business Dashboard Review widget is one of the most significant upgrades to the business center ever.

The widget provides a business owner the ability to see and respond to Google reviews, as well as to monitor almost all of their reviews from around the web. It offers SMBs a functionality that has long been needed, and is one that will give every SMB concerned with reviews a reason to regularly visit their dashboard.

The widget has two main components: a Review Inbox and Review Analytics.

Review Inbox Features

  • Read your complete Google review corpus
  • Ability to respond to reviews from within the dashboard (requires a social upgrade)
  • Owner Review responses will now show on the front page of Google results in the review panel
  • Ability to quickly view the profile of the Google reviewer
  • A list of every review, in snippet form, that Google has indexed from around the web (with the exception of Yelp)
  • A link to the review page where the original review is

MikePiesReviews

Review Analytics

  • Selectable by last week, last month, last six months, last year and all time
  • Displays volume of reviews at Google and elsewhere
  • Review score distribution

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 3.16.55 PM

 

The new Places for Business Dashboard rolled out in April of this year. Even though it was a much needed upgraded, the feature set was limited. However, the architecture promised an ability to relatively easily expand features. At the rollout Google included added Offers and Adwords. Since then, many of the upgrades to the Dashboard have been focused on adding basic features, international rollouts, cleaning up obvious loose ends, more complete integration with the G+ backend AND a consolidated claiming process that is essentially now the same between + and Places.

The Review Widget is not only the first major upgrade to the new dashboard (that offered little in the way of features), but more importantly it is also a signal that Google is working to provide the SMB with valuable tools to manage their business. While the product doesn't yet have mobile or enterprise-level capabilities, it offers up much needed functionality that will give Google an immediate leg up in their effort to attract more SMBs to the dashboard. It is the type of tool that will make the Dashboard a regular stop for business owners.

Here are the updated Google Places Help Files covering this product:

12 Comments

  • David Mihm says:

    Really surprised to see this kind of transparency from Google…especially in a free product. If it’s reliable, it’s surely a game-changer.

  • This is so awesome! Now SMBs will have the ability to respond to their reviews. What is a Social Upgrade?

    • Mike Blumenthal says:

      @Jason
      Some businesses in the new dashboard, depending on how & when their listing was created, have not yet upgraded to full G+ Social functionality. They must do so before they have the privilege of responding to reviews.

      If you have any questions about whether a given listing is a fully social or not see this post.

  • Ryan Glass says:

    The list of reviews from around the web will be very interesting to check out. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Elliot says:

    This is an exciting development from Google for managing reviews all in one place. Thanks for the alert.

    Unfortunately I’m not seeing the widget in my dashboard yet. I’m pretty sure my listing is fully upgraded to G+ social functionality. I can manage / edit from the G+ Page dashboard.

    Maybe this is not yet available in the UK? Anyone in the UK getting this review widget yet?

    • Mike Blumenthal says:

      @Elliot
      This functionality is only available via google.com/places and only if the dashboard has been upgraded.

      It is conceivable that you have the G+ Page but are still in the old dashboard.

      • derrick says:

        Is there a widget or something we could put on our Webpage that would facilitate customers clicking on it and it taking them directly to Google “Review” for our business?
        I am new to this, but it seems a customer must have a Google account (gmail email and password) in order to leave a Google review?

        • Mike Blumenthal says:

          Hi Derrick
          To get a review on Google it is necessary for the customer to already have a Google account and have been somewhat active on Google. Otherwise 1)they will get discourage in creating the account or 2) worse Google will not show the review because they think it is spam.

          I generally that a small business put in place a review gathering system that allows the customer to choose where to leave a reviews. Here is an example of a site that offers multiple choices: InsurancebyJoeD.com/Testimonials/

          PS Full discolusre. He is using the GetFiveStars.com widget which I created.

  • Elliot says:

    Thanks Mike. That would be why. I can still see the old dashboard when I login in through google.com/places – that’s a shame, I hope I get updated soon so I can start using this reviews widget.

  • Calla G says:

    Hi Mike,
    I’m afraid I’d had the three-year-trying-to-be-able-to-get-Google-reviews-nightmare. And this longish comment may be too drilled down specific and hopeless for you to respond to. But in a fit of perhaps unrealistic optimism and cup of reviews half-full-ness I’ll dive in!
    I am a jewelry blogger and jewelry designer. I chose 30 years ago to have a life instead of a store. I’m a full-time jeweler, but for the above mentioned lack of a brick and mortar location reason, I lack that Google coveted address.
    People say, “oh just get one of the Mailboxes Etc. Boxes and use their street address as a work around! Nothing to it!”
    The problem there is, someone gets pissed when they go to Mailboxes Etc. looking for someone to design their engagement ring. And these days people don’t always call you first, they jump in their car to “drop in.”
    I’m not a drop in kinda jewelry gal. People need an appointment.
    I used to have a Google listing with my PO Box. Then I was banned for my PO Box and lost all my lovely seven years worth of great reviews. (Except for that weird one where some lady complained about the layout in my store. Really?!?)
    So I got banned. Taken down. Reviews gone.
    Then hope raised her perky head and Google did a beta plan for plumbers and electricians who had home based businesses but didn’t want pissed clients coming to their houses. Or just didn’t want their house listed as their “place of business.” I signed up with no address listed.
    I was ecstatic and for like two minutes. I had that listing till the next Google Business, Places, Local and whatever change took place and I was at zero again.
    I’m not the techiest girl in the world. I have Google authorship sorted out as a blogger and and G+ personal and G+ business page. I also have a website. But no address for a map on my G+ business page.
    Is there hope that a business owner like me with no address can aspire to show reviews like normal brick and mortar people?
    Help me Obi Mike you’re my only hope ~

    • Mike Blumenthal says:

      @Calla
      When you do business, where exactly do you do business? Do you call on clients at there address? Do you answer the phone during business hours?

      When, after you hid your address, was your listing taken down?

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