Google recently announced that users can now review others’ edits on a computer instead of only having this ability on mobile. In the past, I could see edits people made to a listing via Google Maps by pulling up the listing in question. It looked something like this (yes, those were real edits that a user submitted):
Those of us who do a lot of editing and reviewing on Google Maps found the interface on mobile to be really difficult to use since it’s hard to research facts for a business on a tiny screen without the ability to have multiple tabs open at once. Here are a few things that have changed with this rollout.
- Only a Level 5 Local Guide can currently review edits on desktop. To become a Level 5, you need to get 500 points which would be the equivalent of writing 500 reviews for businesses, making 500 edits, or adding 500 photos (more on that here)
- Google has removed the suggested edits for a place’s status from mobile. This is huge. Previously, if you reported a business as closed, it would show up as “suggested” when you searched this business on mobile. Spammers soon caught onto this and started reporting their competitors as closed or as spam which I wrote about here. To get a visual of why this was a good spamming tactic, check out how this perfectly legit locksmith looked when you looked up their listing on the Google Maps app.
Here is an example. Someone suggested that Madison Florist in Brooklyn doesn’t exist. I only see this on desktop in the specific section for reviewing edits. It doesn’t show up on the listing normally for any other user.
Now here is a screenshot of the listing on mobile. There is no suggested edit like there was previously for the locksmith.
Edits to other fields that aren’t as sensitive, show up on both views like in this example for a person suggesting a name change for this business.
- As per what I mentioned in #1 and #2, this means that if you report a listing as closed, report it as spam, or report it as “doesn’t exist” you either have to get a Level 5 Local Guide to review it, or you have to sit around and wait for Google to get to it (that might take a while). This is fantastic news in my opinion. It’s much harder for a spammer to become a Level 5 to gain this ability. It’s not impossible, clearly, but it gives them more work before they even have an option. In the MapMaker world, I would often see brand new users approving edits, which honestly should have never been possible. Spammers just loved it.
- When you click the little “search on Google” link below the edit, as seen in the screenshot above, it opens a new tab which searches the business name so you can do your homework before reviewing the edit. This needs quite a bit of work considering there are lots of businesses with the same name. Google should consider adding the address of the location to this search (hopefully they do after reading this). This was one of the searches I got when reviewing a listing. Not so helpful.
- If you’re like me and you want to review edits all over the place, not just near your house, the current interface on desktop kind of sucks. The only way to do this is to zoom out really far and then zoom in on the map to get to where the business is. I would anticipate they will make this a bit better as time goes on.
Google is definitely keeping me busy lately with all the changes they’ve been rolling out. Someone forgot to tell them to slow down while I’m still on maternity leave 🙂 I’ll be updating my training manual as more of these features roll out along with tips and best practices of how you can use them to benefit yourself and clients (if you’re an agency).