As we know, Google Maps and search feature is commonly used by customers to find and locate businesses, providing a certain service in an area, to understand their open hours and location details.
However, with the coronavirus outbreak disrupting business activities and further imposed nationwide lockdown and closing of borders has made many businesses to shut shop temporarily.
Exploring the new feature on Google Maps
To avoid confusion and ease out customer hassles to find and locate businesses that are working during these crisis times, Google Maps has rolled out a new "temporarily closed" option for businesses to mark themselves as temporarily closed in any of their locations.
Businesses who want to mark themselves as "temporarily closed" can access the Google Support forum for answers to their queries and understand how to mark their location as open or closed.
The company's support page states, ""You can mark your business or any of your locations as temporarily closed on Google. If your business temporarily closes or is seasonal, your customers will be up to date."
However, the company added that businesses that are working for limited hours during the coronavirus period, need not enable this option.
How do you mark your business as "temporarily closed"?
Google has provided a stepwise process on Google support group to mark your business as temporarily closed on Google Maps.
To make your profile appear as temporarily closed on Google Maps and Search:
- On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
- In the menu on the left, click Info.
- To the right, point to the section "Close this business on Google".
- To expand this section you might need to click the arrow.
If you have multiple profiles, then you can select the profile you want to change, and follow steps 2 and 3 above to mark your businesses as "temporarily closed."
However, if your business has temporarily adjusted hours and non-persistent closures, then you can use the "special hours" feature to keep your customers up-to-date.
For long, the tech giant has been waiting and relying on information from governments and other sources to indicate the business as working or closed on Google Maps. This new feature rolled out will provide more accurate business listings to customers within an area, along with specific working hours indicating if they are open or closed temporarily due to coronavirus lockdown.
Earlier Google had mentioned that they are using AI to update business information and their working hours. However, it seems the solution to accurate business location search and finding their working hours is now possible using this feature.
But there's a catch! This feature will only work if businesses remember to update their status on Google Maps and enable the "temporarily closed" option. Note, this feature is not configured to automatically update data by itself, without inputs from businesses.