I was recently quoted a few times in an Infoworld story about the lack of Google Places support. Google: The big baby that won’t grow up While I’m quick to report on major Google Places problems, I try to be equally quick to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge their attempts to improve the platform.

Google just launched a new level of support for Google Places users. It’s not a full on phone support option which is still sorely needed, but it sounds like it may be a couple steps up from the “report a problem” option that was previously the only way to get help. I’m anxious to try it on some of my problem listings to see how the response is. (More details below the video.)

THANKS to the Google Places team for hearing our pleas!

Introducing a new support feature for Google Places for business – Official Google Blog

The link above explains how it works.

Here are 2 forum threads that shine more light including a post from Joel Headley addressing the role the Google Places forum plays in support.

Having a problem with your Google Places listing? Visit a new feature of our Help Center

Looks like we are going away – Joel Headley wrote:

“This help forum provides a platform for users to help each other. As Googlers, we’ll chime in, making sure policies are clear and large scale issues are escalated (like recently with service area issues).

That said, there’s a broad segment of folks looking for tips on how to improve visibility and ranking in local search. Many of those questions will go unanswered by Google – for obvious reasons – we don’t describe our ranking algorithms in detail. And, we certainly don’t tell individual businesses how to get an edge on their competition in organic results.

Despite the lack of Googler involvement, I think there’s value to those who want to discuss these topics and engage in developing a good online, local presence. I hope those discussions continue on discussion platforms like this.

Additionally, sometimes a public forum is the best place to learn that multiple people experiencing the same issue. The email contact is for those one off cases of “my listing isn’t appearing correctly!” — though I appreciate when a larger scale problem (an outage or other issues) are described publicly where we can get a sense of how many are experiencing an issue.”

UPDATE 10/4 Sharing posts from other local pros and yes I agree this isn’t enough, but it’s one small step toward improved support.

Google Places: What might customer service look like?
– Mike Blumenthal

Google Places Dashboard Call for Help – Mike Blumenthal

“Fix A Problem” – Google Places’ Latest Attempt at DIY Customer Service
– Matt McGee