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Google My Business API v4.4 Update

On April 22nd 2019, Google released a version update to the Google My Business API.  LocalViking.com manages GMB locations through the API so these updates are particularly interesting to us (and our customers).

Let’s take a look at what’s been added:

Verifications Of Local Service Businesses

This update adds the ability for Service Area GMB locations to request postcard verification via the API.  Previous to this update, Service Area businesses were unable to programmatically request postcard verifications.

How does this change affect LocalViking.com?

Since virtually 100% of our customers and partner agencies work on already verified GMB locations, currently Local Viking doesn’t support verifications through the dashboard.  As we grow and partner with new agencies we will review providing verification support directly in the platform.

Google Maps Follower Count

Google gave users the ability to ‘follow’ a business on Google Maps and now the total count of your ‘followers’ is available via API.  When a user has ‘followed’ your location, your GMB posts will show up in their ‘For You’ tab.  We haven’t heard much about this metric in terms of it being a ranking signal, however, it seems like a good metric to watch for GMB manipulation.

How does this change affect LocalViking.com?

We’ll add this metric to our dashboard sometime in the next few sprints although I’m not sure this is something to write home about.

Pending Edits Flag

GMB property edits can be ‘under review’ for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days and this can be problematic, especially when we’re concerned about keeping our location UI in sync with your GMB.

This update provides a sane mechanism for us (and all 3rd party API integrators) to keep our data in sync with what’s published for your location.  Thanks, Google.

How does this change affect LocalViking.com?

From an engineering perspective, we are most excited about this update.  We’ve had far too many discussions about how to best deal with updates that fail (silently) and keep our data mirroring what your GMB actually shows live.

User and Location Group Management

In the GMB dashboard, you can create groups for your locations and users so you can properly share permissions across your organization (while segmenting your locations by geography, brand, etc).

Now, the GMB API supports creating these groups programmatically.

How does this change affect LocalViking.com?

We haven’t thought about User/Location group support, although if enough users request it we are always open to the possibility.

Future Location Opening Date

This feature was added to the Google My Business dashboard in 2018 but the gist is that you can set a date for your business opening in the future and your listing will show up on Google Maps 90 days prior to your actual opening date.

How does this change affect LocalViking.com?

This will most likely sneak into a sprint this year but we don’t see it as a high priority.

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