One of my clients kindly pointed out to me a tiny new addition to Google Places pages: the words “At a glance” next to the “descriptor snippets”:
Here’s how the “snippets” area looked before:
The “At a glance” is new only to the Places page itself. It’s not completely new to Google Places. For the last few months it’s appeared in the preview area that you see when you hover your mouse over a local-business search result:
Is the addition of “At a glance” to the Places page a big deal? Of course not. But it’s a nice baby-step toward greater usability of Google Places.
I’ve had a number of clients (and a whole bunch of other people) ask me what those random-looking “keywords” are on their Places pages. At least for now, I’ll still have to explain that Google culls the “keywords” from customer reviews, third-party sites and reviews (InsiderPages, CitySearch, etc.), and from your website.
I’ll also still have to explain that there’s no way to control directly what phrases wind up in the “At a glance” snippets—and that sometimes they can include nonsensical, unflattering, or downright ugly phrases.
Still, this little annotation at least will give customers and business owners a slightly better idea of what they’re looking at in this little sliver of the Places page. That’s always good.
I’m hopeful that Google will continue to add features to the “At a glance” area, and to improve the quality and relevance of the snippets themselves.