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The Latest Updates with Google Places and Google+

Google. Everyone knows it; everyone uses it. However, not everyone knows what to do when Google changes the rules or makes an error. There are a few things Google has recently changed that can easily be demystified. Some things still lurk in the mist.

Page managers everywhere have suffered through the dramatic, often unannounced, changes to Google’s cataloging methods. The most recent headache: the shift from Google Places to Google+ Local. This shift has been happening for a few months now, but for companies managing many different accounts, the affects are overwhelming and difficult to control.

Google claims that the old Google places are irrelevant, since Google+ Local covers the same material, plus more information. The problem is that many people were unaware of the need to have a Google+ Local account, and thus their Google Places pages were not redirected.

In order to avoid the stress and frustration, take the opportunity to sign up for Google+ when logging into your Google Places account. Google frequently offers this option upon sign in, but many people are either too busy or ignorant to the Google changes to realize this step is a necessity.

For those page managers familiar with Google, signing up for Google+ is not a guarantee that all your information will be magically shifted and redirected from Google Places to Google+ Local. The Google monster is not absolutely reliable when it comes to updating and changing information.

In the event that your Google Places to Google+ Local pages make the appropriate shift, it’s time to celebrate. That is, of course, if all of your information is correct. If you’ve recently changed office locations, contact information, or have other updates to add to your new, Google-friendly Local page, you may run into a few more bumps in the road.

Updating information in Google+ Local should be simple. In the user interface, the options for editing are openly available. Once you hit submit, you may expect instant results. You’re not crazy; that’s how the rest of the Internet works – but not Google. There are many cases were Google+ Local fails to make the appropriate changes. If this happens to you, don’t panic: there are alternate routes to updating.

Visit your page as an anonymous Google user and report a discrepancy to Google. It seems that Google is sometimes more receptive to consumer changes than business owner edits.

VentureBeat provides tons of great articles on the Google+ platform, so you can keep up to speed with the latest and greatest changes. We wish we found this resource sooner, because according to Jolie O’Dell, “Google forcing users to use Google+ is old news – a year old, actually”.  Better late than never, right? Right, considering that users who don’t catch this soon might be out of luck: Google plans to remove all Google Places pages. When, you ask? Well, that remains a Google mystery.