Google Maps could help your business avoid angry late-night customers

Making sure your business' online details are accurate is set to get a lot easier thanks to an upgrade to Google Maps.

The company has outlined how it is using AI to spot any errors or issues with business listings on Maps, particularly concerning opening hours.

Google says its platform brings together information from several Maps and AI tools to predict what business hours are for most companies, and update the information accordingly, making sure potential customers aren't left lacking the details they need.

Google Maps AI

“Over the past few years, businesses have experienced a lot of change — including constantly updating operating hours based on changing pandemic-related restrictions,” Google Maps product managers Liam Bolling and Kristi Bohl wrote in a blog post

“To keep up with this pace of change, we developed a machine learning model that automatically identifies if business hours are likely wrong, then instantly updates them with AI-generated predictions.”

Along with the AI model, Google Maps also looks at when a business profile was last updated, meaning it's important to make sure your company stays on top of any changes. The platform also looks at the hours of other shops nearby, as well as noting the Popular Times data for the business in question. 

Popular Times pulls in anonymized data from users who have opted in to Google Location History to build up a profile of when a business is particularly busy, as well as offering predictions on wait times or the length of time a customer stays in a shop.

If it spots any anomalies – for example, the most popular shopping hours being around 1pm, despite a business saying it doesn't open until 5pm – then Google Maps will update opening hours accordingly.

Elsewhere, the other tools Google Maps uses range from the the obvious (checking the information on a shop's official website) to using Google Street View to spot an opening hours sign in the window. In addition, the company can also call on its local Google Maps community in certain countries to add in their expertise and verify any changes, or as a last resort, use its AI-powered Duplex conversational technology to actually call the store and ask.

“With this new AI-first approach, we’re on track to update the hours for over 20 million businesses around the globe in the next six months – helping you know exactly when your favorite store, restaurant or cafe is open for business ,” Bolling and Bohl note.

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Microsoft 365 is swooping in to try and steal G Suite free customers

Microsoft is making a bold attempt to steal G Suite users over to its own office software offering.

The company is offering a 60% discount on its Microsoft 365 platform to former G Suite customers unhappy that they will soon have to pay for Google's services.

Google revealed recently that it would be ending free subscriptions to G Suite services such as Docs, Sheets, Meet and Gmail, instead “upgrading” users to a paid subscription by May 1 2022.

In the market

“Organizations of all sizes rely on productivity and collaboration tools to get work done—they’re what keep business humming. If you’re a small business that’s relied on G Suite legacy free edition, we couldn’t help but notice you might be in the market for a new solution,” Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365 wrote in a blog post

“We’ve got news for you: today, you can get a 60 percent discount on a 12-month Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, or Business Premium subscription, along with the help you need to make the move.”

The offer is exclusive to current G Suite legacy free edition users who purchase a 12 month Microsoft 365 subscription by August 2, 2022. 

Businesses based in the US will also get one year of free support with Business Assist for Microsoft 365, the company's platform that aims to help small businesses migrate and get up to speed quickly.

Google has not responded to the move yet, but Microsoft's bold action could pay off.

Many legacy G Suite users were left annoyed at Google's move, which will see the G Suite legacy free edition no longer available from July 1, 2022, with any users found not to have started paying after 60 days being locked out.

However a recent loophole could allow some non-business users a way out, with Google noting that anyone using G Suite legacy free edition for personal use and unwilling to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription could possibly continue their current subscription for a little longer.

Google says it will automatically upgrade free users from May 1 to “an upgraded Google Workspace paid subscription” based on its analysis of the customer's usage and the features it thinks you'll need.

Google Workplace plans start at $ 6/user/month for its Business Starter option, with Business Standard ($ 12/user/month) and Business Plus ($ 18 /user/month) also on offer, providing an increasing level of services with the amount paid.

Google is offering a discount for twelve months, and won't start charging subscription fees until July 1, 2022. The company is also offering businesses who don't want to pay or upgrade the chance to export their data at no extra cost.

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Similarweb swoops in with free website-ranking API for customers

Following the news that Amazon is discontinuing its highly popular SEO tool, Similarweb has stepped up to provide its own solution.

The digital intelligence software company has announced the launch of a new free website-ranking API though this is just one of several steps it is taking to help customers ahead of the service being phased out in May 2022. customers will also be able to instantly view Similarweb site ranking for free on the web. However, for the first time, Similarweb is launching a self-service offering based on its digital intelligence platform.

The company's new offering will be available worldwide in all markets through a simple credit card transaction.

SimilarWeb DigitalRank API

Similarweb is providing customers with a free trial that will provide them with unlimited access to Similarweb DigitalRank to see website performance in addition to Similarweb Digital Marketing and Research Intelligence premium solutions that will allow them to gain actionable insights that impact website traffic performance.

With these tools in hand, website owners will be able to get a real-time view of competitive activity across all digital marketing channels, understand which audiences are engaging with their competitor's websites, utilize real-time traffic share data, discover and prioritize SEO keyword opportunities, get audience demographic and behavioral information and more.

CEO and founder of Similarweb, Or Offer provided further insight on how these new offerings will allow the company to expand its reach further in a press release, saying:

“Similarweb has always been a leader in terms of the data our users get and the quality and accuracy our insights provide. Although it’s a bittersweet moment with the closing of, I’m excited for the opportunity it presents to expand our reach even further as we become the standard for digital rankings and global website intelligence.”

Interested users can sign up for a free trial here and view Similarweb's list of the top websites here.

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