Thousands Of Hotel Listings Were Hijacked In Google+ Local

google-hotel-featured Thousands of hotels listed within Google+ Local appear to have had links leading to their official sites "hijacked" and replaced with ones leading to third-party booking services. Google+ Local listings are what Google depends on to provide results in Google Maps or Google Search, when people look for local businesses. A Hijacked URL For example, here is the "verified" page for the Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, California: The arrows show how the URLs for the hotel's official website leads to "" rather than the hotel's actual page here within th [...]

Google Apologizes For Berlin Street Being Renamed “Adolf Hitler Platz” On Google Maps

Google maps icon In a story reported by's World News, the popular Berlin square Theodor Heuss Platz was momentarily renamed "Adolf Hitler Platz" on Google Maps. Google apologized for the error in an email sent to NBC, stating, "We were made aware of a wrong and inappropriate Berlin street name on Google Maps and have corrected this as quickly as possible." Spotted by a Google Maps user, NBC said Google didn't know how long the inappropriate street name had been listed on Google Maps; although, the news network claimed local media reports suggest the error had been in place for a couple of hou [...]

Google Preps “Hotel View” Interior 360 Imagery

Google Street View Pegman Icon Call it Google "Hotel View." According to the Associated Press (via Fox), Google is photographing hotel interiors as part of an effort to enhance its travel content. Perhaps even more interesting, says the article, is that the initiative is being run not under the umbrella of Google Maps but through Google Wallet. It's not clear whether that last statement is accurate, however. Google has been slowly rolling out more and more interior photography for local businesses over the past few years. This may simply be a logical extension of that effort. According to the AP, Google is ma [...]

Google Again Updates iOS App With Improved Maps Integration

New iOS 7 optimized Google Search app On the heels of a very recent iOS Maps update, Google has further updated and optimized its search app for iOS 7. Some of the changes are cosmetic: "iOS 7 styling and true full screen browsing" for example. There's also improved image search for the iPad and better integration with Google Maps. Google Now also seems more "prominent" but I could be mistaken; there are no apparent changes to Google Now on the official "what's new" list. Google Maps is nicely integrated into Google search results (I don't remember the old experience frankly because I infrequently use the Google Search app [...]

Google Maps Pegman Is Now Santa For Christmas

santa-pegman If you go to Google Maps and look at the Pegman used for browsing street view images, you will see the Pegman is wearing a Santa hat. The Santa Pegman is not new, it was shown to us when Google had a welcome back party for the Pegman in the new version of Google Maps. Plus, Google has had the Pegman wearing a Santa hat since Christmas 2010. Hat tip to Alex Chitu for spotting this. [...]

Microsoft Photosynth Creator Agüera y Arcas Joining Google

Blaise Agüera y Arcas Last night, the NY Times reported that the man primarily responsible for Microsoft's Photosyth product, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, is joining Google. Agüera y Arcas is not simply an engineer or technician, he offers a rare combination of technical expertise, design and product vision. Agüera y Arcas joined Microsoft when his 2003 startup, Seadragon, was acquired by Microsoft Research in 2006. The next year, that technology launched as Photosynth, one of the most innovative software tools or products Microsoft had then produced to date. Unfortunately, the Photosynth never caught on among [...]

Google Adds “Now” Content, Features To iOS Maps Apps

Google maps icon larger In October, Google started adding Google Now style cards to its PC Maps. Now, Google is adding some of those same features to its iOS Maps apps. If you update Google Maps for iOS and sign in, you can now see flight, hotel, and restaurant reservations from Gmail in Maps -- and then search or get directions. Here's a PC Maps screenshot from Google for its October update: I don't have a good screenshot for the new content in mobile given that I have no upcoming reservations. But below is a set of screens from my iPhone that illustrates the "Nowification" of Google Maps. Google is doi [...]

New Google Maps Adds More Search Results To Info Window

Google maps icon larger The (relatively) new Google Maps is certainly visually richer than the old Maps UI. However it may be somewhat less functional. As one example, it eliminates one of my favorite and most-used features: "search nearby." It's now also somewhat harder to access multiple results on a category query, ironically. Yesterday, Google Operating System spotted a change in the number of search results showing in the main info-window below the search box. Google is now showing three results per category query. The following is an example result for "San Diego Sushi." Below is the same search resul [...]

Google Maps Gets Street Views For 16 International Airports & Other Transit Locations Across The Globe

Google Maps icon In time for the holiday travel season, Google Maps now includes street views for a number of transit locations across the globe. Yesterday, a post on the Google Maps blog claimed the site has added street views for 16 international airports, more than 50 train and subway stations, as well as a Hong Kong cable car station. According to Google: Now you can visit the check-in counter of your airline in Madrid, map out the way from baggage claim to the bus at Tokyo International Airport and check out where to pick up your rental car at Eindhoven Airport; you can even scope out your seat on an [...]

Google Maps Makes Exception & Speeds Up Process To Replace Image Of Shooting Victim

Google maps icon Google Maps is making an exception to its process for reviewing image removal requests, and speeding up the actions needed to replace a satellite image of a 14-year old shooting victim. Following a story broadcast on KTVU-TV, a CNN affiliate in Oakland, California and a report on, Google claims it will take approximately eight days to remove the image of the 2009 crime scene involving the slain teenager. According to an update on the story from, vice president of Google Maps Brian McClendon released the following the statement: Our hearts go out to the family of this young [...]

Yelp: We’re Second Only To Google In Local Data Quality

Yelp logo Yelp has long maintained that the company has one of the best (if not the best) local data sets out there. There are third parties that have come up with findings that don't agree with that claim. Recently, Yelp decided to take matters into its own hands and benchmark itself and the quality of its local data against the competition. You can read in detail about Yelp's methodology in its blog post. The abbreviated version is the following: Yelp collected 1,000 US business locations in various categories and locations (including international). Yelp "hand verified" these businesses on [...]

The Return Of Pegman And Other New Google Maps Features

googlemaps The new full-screen Google Maps were announced this summer at Google's developer conference. However, the company is still rolling it out to users. Today on the Google LatLong blog, a number of new (or returning) features were introduced. Among them, the "Pegman" Street View icon is back. He/it appears in the lower right corner of the map. Click it and you'll see highlighted areas on the map (in blue) that give you access to Street View images. Mouse over those areas and you get a thumbnail preview. Zoom in and you see blue and yellow dots or circles. Blue dots indicate user-uploaded [...]

Google Places Listings Get Integrated Into Android’s Phone App — And They’re Terrible

android-featured A big change in Android 4.4 is: those using Google's new mobile operating system, nicknamed "KitKat," can search for businesses right from within the Phone app. How's it work? For me, it's awful. Google+ Invades The Android 4.4 “KitKat” Phone App: What It Means For Businesses & People is our separate article that explores the integration in general. In this article, I'll share some examples of how business search works -- and fails -- in Android 4.4. The Disappointing Local Results First up, I want to find a nearby restaurant. Using the Phone app, I type in "restaurants" into the [...]

How To Leave Anonymous Business Reviews In Google+

CreateaPage For a long time, I've had some doctor friends complaining to me that once Google Places changed over to the new Google+ format, all their patients lost the ability to leave anonymous reviews (thus hurting their business and their rankings). They asked me what to do; and I, in turn, asked my fellow SEO friends what to do. No one really had a good answer, except to start leaving reviews on doctor-specific sites like and That never seemed like a good answer to me, so I kept searching. Even answers from Google staff (in Google Groups) don't shed much light on th [...]

Google Maps’ Mobile Reach Drops In September — comScore

google-maps-iphone-icon Yesterday, comScore's US smartphone market share figures for September came out. There weren't many surprises -- except for one thing: the Google Maps app has fallen three spots in comScore's rankings. The smartphone app, which used to be the most popular in the US, fell from 5th to 8th position in comScore's "Top 15 apps" chart. In roughly September of last year, Google Maps was overtaken by Facebook as the top individual smartphone app in the US. The replacement of Google Maps by Apple Maps as the default mapping app on the iPhone was largely responsible for the change. In July [...]

Google Hotel Finder Goes Mobile

google-hotel-finder Google's Hotel Finder, which launched in June 2011, is now available on mobile devices. Google said all you need to do is go to directly on your smart phone and search for your destination. Listings will come up almost immediately, giving you the ability to filter the search results by price, hotel class, user rating and distance. Each hotel listing page will show you photos, hotel amenities, reviews and its location on a map. Google will also let you book the hotel directly through the site using Google Wallet or your credit card. Google said availability is cur [...]

Report: Basic Local Optimization Steps Boosted Google Visibility By 179 Percent

local-search-featured Digital agency and technology provider SIM Partners released a report (registration required) discussing how use of several basic Local SEO tactics can dramatically improve visibility on Google. The study involved 315 US business locations. These are not independent, small businesses. SIM Partners typically works with national-local businesses that have national brands but local offices, hotels or stores. According to the report all the locations used bulk upload verification. However, the principles and tactics should be applicable to local SEO for SMBs as well. The objective was to [...]

Google Intros Android App For Managing Google Places Listings

google-places-icon Local business owners have a new tool for managing their Google Places For Business Listing. Mike Blumenthal got the scoop on the new Android app that lets SMBs update their business information, post update and photos to their Google+ Local Page, respond to comments on Google+ and more. It also offers very basic analytics data such as "impressions" and "actions." Google says that any changes made inside the app will show up across Google properties -- in search results, Google Maps, Google+ Local and Google's mobile search. The app, however, doesn't let business owners respond to c [...]

Homeward Bound: A Great Long-Form Ad For Google Maps

Google maps icon larger One of the most popular articles on the AdWeek site today showcases what is essentially an ad for Google Maps/Earth. It features an Indian man (Saroo Brierley) who as a young child falls asleep on a train with his brother. His brother doesn't wake him up at their designated stop. When he later does wake up the train is empty. We don't know what happens next except that Brierley, who narrates the three-minute video, says he "was adopted out to Australia." For the next 26 years he thinks about his family of origin back in India. As a young adult he uses Google Maps and Google Earth to hel [...]

Google Now Cards Invade The New Google Maps

Google sure does love its new card-based information display. They're the primary display for Google Now information. They're part of Google's new unified design on mobile devices. They're how all information is displayed on Google Glass. They've been spotted in the wild displaying Google News results, too. And now they're part of the new (still in beta) Google Maps experience -- one of several updates announced today. Google says it's in the process of adding cards for personal travel -- flight, hotel and restaurant reservations -- right inside Google Maps. The cards will show up if [...]

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