If you have a home business or service business and want to get a listing in Google Local – now called Google Places, here is a great interview I just discovered with Carter Maslan, Google’s Director of Product Management for Local.

Carter talks about the need for the Google Places service area feature and how it evolved, but the interview goes beyond that specific feature and gives specific details about how Google Places works, talks about other Places features, error reporting and gives a glimpse into what may be coming down the pike.

Below Carter sheds some light on the primary motivation for adding this feature. Look at how many potential new Google Places listings will be created and added to the index. Think of how many more Tags will be purchased or enhanced listings once a new paid service comes out.

Carter Maslan Interviewed by Eric Enge

Eric Enge: Do you have any idea how many businesses could potentially add to the overall maps index?

Carter Maslan: Even though we don’t have specific numbers to share, we know that it’s a huge portion, as there are a ton of home-based and service businesses in this country. I don’t have a specific number, but I think it is at least a third of the overall total, and I am assuming there is going to be a big group of new businesses that can now list themselves legitimately. I think in the past there were people trying to shoehorn themselves into the orientation towards retail store fronts, and this ended up creating problems because we viewed what they were doing as spammy behavior, so I think this is going to help with data quality.

People and businesses with the intent to give us accurate information now have a way to do that without pushing the boundaries of what we originally intended the product to do. I think it’s going to cleanup data quality and I think it’s going to appeal to a large chunk of businesses that we couldn’t serve before.

Eric Enge did a great job with the interview.  You can comment on it here.

Thanks Eric!