Google has enhanced places searches on mobile devices in US to offer an ‘open now’ filter. Why does this mean that your businesses could soon be invisible to shoppers?

Users who search for local results initially in the US using the ‘Places’ search facility on Android smartphones and iPhones will in future be presented with the option to restrict results to only those that are open.

Are Your Google Places ‘Open Now’?

The ‘open now’ link uses the published opening hours on Google places listings to present only those businesses that based on that information are currently open.

Google Places Critical For Consumer Facing Businesses

As usual with Google innovations, if it proves beneficial to consumers, no doubt this functionality will roll out across the rest of the world. With many businesses not yet claimed and a large proportion of those that are without opening hours this presents businesses with a couple of critical tasks.

  1. Ensure that you have opening hours listed on all locations from which you trade or your listing could prove invisible to searches of this type.
  2. Ensure that your opening hours on listing details are kept up to date or you could either disappoint shoppers, or just as bad, miss out on sales.

Therefore making the management of business’ Google Places an even more critical activity for the increasing number of mobile aware businesses.

A Google Places Dilemma

However there is a sting in the tail. Since places results for many retailers act as a source of traffic to their online e-commerce stores they now have to decide whether to extend published opening hours in order to ensure that they can still attract online shoppers but therefore potentially mislead shoppers, or state them correctly and potentially lose business.

An interesting dilemma!