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Local Memo: Google Business Profile Popup View Rolls Out Broadly


In this week’s update, learn about Google’s new popup display for Business Profiles; the imminent release of Meta’s Twitter competitor; ChatGPT as a local search tool; the return of “Image Not Approved” in GBP; expanded GBP options for language assistance; and the popularity of travel recommendations on Reddit. 


Google Business Profile Popup View Rolls Out Broadly


SOCi’s local search watchdog Mike Snow pointed out to me the other day that Google appears to have rolled out more broadly a feature that, for some weeks now, only a few users could see. I’m referring to the presentation of the full Google Business Profile in the form of a popup when a user clicks on any of the three results in a Local Pack. Previously, clicking on one of these results brought you to a Local Finder (i.e., page two) view where the selected profile was shown in its expanded form alongside a longer list of similar businesses. Now, users will be able to glean all the info they need about a business without visiting the Local Finder – which is potentially bad news for businesses ranked 4 and below who will now appear less often in SERPs. 


Popup Business Profile for a places search in the Local Pack map


Popup Business Profile for a Places search overlays the Local Pack map


However, profile popups seem to be restricted to listings in the “Places” category, one of Google’s two broad categories differentiating stores, restaurants, and similar brick-and-mortar establishments and destination sites — Places — from service providers of various kinds, who are labeled Businesses. (These labels appear at the top of the Local Pack.) The Businesses category applies to service-area businesses like landscapers but also to attorneys, gyms, and auto care centers. Currently, Local Packs with the Businesses label behave differently from those labeled Places: users who click on a result are taken to a Local Finder that looks quite different from the Local Finder for Places, and seems oriented toward showcasing services as well as Local Service Ads. 


An image showing that clicking on a Businesses result takes you to the services version of the Local Finder


Clicking on a Businesses result takes me to the services version of the Local Finder


Meta May Release Twitter Competitor in June


Meta is said to be moving closer to the release of a Twitter-like app that may end up with the name Barcelona, according to reports that hint at a June launch date. The app is said to be like a stand-alone version of the Instagram direct messaging feature, but designed to enable massive group chats that resemble threaded conversations in Twitter. The move on Meta’s part follows trends whereby users are posting less original content on Instagram and using it more as a discovery platform, meanwhile turning to DMs in greater numbers. 


Built as a decentralized platform, the new app will allow users to discover each other across other decentralized apps like Mastodon. Users will be able to log in using their Instagram credentials and synchronize followers across the two platforms. 


An image showcasing what Meta's Twitter like app would look like


Meta’s new Twitter-like app, courtesy ICYMI / Social Media Today


ChatGPT’s Local Search (In)capabilities


In his latest Near Media post, Greg Sterling shares that he was recently granted access to the new ChatGPT Plus plugin capabilities, but that the interface performs poorly so far for local search. Notably, performance of third-party plugins like OpenTable for restaurant search, or Kayak for hotel bookings, was stronger than that of the web browser plugin, which returned mediocre results from older directories like Sterling notes that Plus users cannot currently utilize both web browsing and third-party plugins in the same session.


In other ChatGPT news, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing about AI regulation. Altman suggested that a cabinet-level organization should be created to study AI and suggest appropriate regulations. Meanwhile, OpenAI has launched an iOS app for ChatGPT with an Android version said to be coming soon.


The Return of the GBP “Image Not Approved” Bug

Mike Blumenthal reports on the resurgence of the “Image Not Approved” bug, which has caused frustration for many users whose images uploaded to Google Business Profiles are rejected for no apparent reason. If you suspect you may be affected by the bug, Blumenthal recommends first closely checking the guidelines for image dimensions and requirements, then running your images through the Google Vison AI tool to see if Google has likely — whether fairly or not — tagged them as inappropriate. If fixing any such issues doesn’t work, Blumenthal recommends posting images via the public Google Maps interface. 


Some users are also experiencing a bug that prevents them from editing Google Posts (now known as Updates). The bug has yet to be acknowledged by Google or resolved, according to reports. 


An image of a man sitting down in front of a wrecked car that Google has categorized as "racy"


Google often misinterprets photo content as “adult” or “racy”; courtesy Mike Blumenthal / Near Media


Language Assistance Options in GBP Have Expanded


Google has expanded the number of business categories where language assistance can be configured as an attribute. Language assistance, a family of attributes first launched for healthcare in 2021, is now available for categories like HVAC repair, electricians, and appliance repair, as noted by Darcy Burk on Twitter. I haven’t been able to replicate this myself, so perhaps it is rolling out slowly. 


An image showing different languages you can select in Google Business Profile


Language assistance interface, courtesy Darcy Burk


Reddit Users Seek Recommendations from Peers for Travel


Reddit has shared a new infographic showing how its users rely on recommendations from their peers when making travel plans. According to the infographic, “91% of U.S. redditors who browse travel content have made a booking decision based on information they found on Reddit.” Some 61% of Reddit users who are planning to travel this year say they trust recommendations from their peers on Reddit more than recommendations on other platforms. The majority of Reddit users would prefer to interact with a travel brand that is active on Reddit. 


The findings are part of a larger trend that sees many Google users adding “Reddit” to search terms to see recommendations from the platform. At Google’s recent I/O conference, the company announced the upcoming launch of a new Perspectives filter that will be dedicated to search results from forums and social platforms. 



An image of a Reddit infographic highlighting statistics that prove that their users love travel


Excerpt from Reddit infographic, courtesy Social Media Today

Damian Rollison

With over a decade of local search experience, Damian Rollison, SOCI's Director of Market Insights, has focused his career on discovering innovative ways to help businesses large and small get noticed online. Damian's columns appear frequently at Street Fight, Search Engine Land, and other publications, and he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as Localogy, Brand Innovators, State of Search, SMX, and more.

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