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What Google’s Changes Mean for You

Last week Google introduced several new changes to its various product at Google I/O 2013. While some of these changes don’t apply to social media (or won’t apply to most people for a very long time, a lá Google Glass), there are changes to two key products that anyone trying to promote themselves online needs to take note of.

Google+

You may have noticed Google+ just received a major makeover. Not only does the revamp look a lot more like Pinterest, but Google made around 40 other changes. Here are the ones you need to know about:

  • Google just made Google+ a much more visually focused site, meaning that images and videos are now even more important (and even larger in size) for profiles on the site. While text posts are still okay, using only text posts will get very boring very quickly for your followers.
  • Google+ is now actively using hashtags. Not only will Google now suggest related hashtags for your posts, but your followers will be able to click on the hashtags to see related content.
  • Google has also added new photo-editing tools (one of which is actually called Auto Awesome) that will be extremely beneficial in helping you get great photos on your site.

For example, let’s say you decided to take some office photos to help clients get familiar with your staff. When reviewing the photos, though, you noticed that you don’t have a single one where everyone is smiling and has their eyes open. Google can now help you "stitch" together one great photo from all the other not-so-great ones, no special Photoshop skills required.

That’s only one of the many new tools Google+ has added to make sharing great photos easier than ever. The new tools also help you pick out the best images, remove red-eye, sharpen the photo, among a host of other things.

Google Maps

While some of the changes may appear cosmetic (such as the map now being full page instead of a partial page), many of the changes will require you to be more thorough in filling out your Google Places profile.

For instance, Maps will now display your company’s info card right below the search box on the maps page. Users will be able to see photos and reviews, get directions, and save your business info to come back to later.

What does this mean for you? It means you’ll want to make sure your business profile is completely verified and filled out with the address, website, and any other relevant info. It’s even a good idea to collect reviews from loyal customers to add to your profile so people see how much people respect your business at first glance. Having a complete profile makes your business look more credible to potential customers.

Maps will also start more clearly highlighting related places (a.k.a. your competitors), which makes it even more important that you have a complete profile.

If your profile is currently lacking, you can search for your business name, click the "Places" icon beside the name, then click "more info" to view your full profile. Once on your profile, you can scroll down to the "Manage this page" icon to make changes.

Those are the biggest social media-related changes from Google I/O 2013. Have questions or want more information on how you can improve your presence online? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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