For at least the past 24 hours, Google Places has been reporting a system error to its users when trying to complete or change a listing. In the past Google has used this message to block spam type activities. However, due to the high volume of complaints in the Google Places forum, it actually looks as though Google Places is legitimately down. Historically, these down times have also been indicative of an upcoming update or bug fixes. We also have definitely seen the number of accounts in review skyrocket lately. Our opinion is that with the new proliferation of local search engine optimization consultants and Google’s emphasis on local results, Google is most likely manually reviewing their business listings to bring the hammer down on the spammers.
So what is Google doing? Well, at this point it is hard to say. We spoke with our friends over at Google Places, and they weren’t sure what was going on. At this point, anyone can begin a new listing or enter into the system to change an existing listing. So everything looks just fine…. until… you hit the “Finish” button. That is when it takes you to the following screen:
Seems harmless enough, right? You think it will only take a few minutes, so you grab your favorite cocktail, head over to Facebook for awhile to chat, and return 15 minutes. Hmm… same error message appears when you try again. So you try different browsers, clearing your cache and cookies, and even visit your neighbor to see if it works on their computer. Nothing works! You just can’t believe that the almighty Google is down, right? Well believe it buddy, because it is! So far Google hasn’t made a public announcement at this time of this post. We can tell you that Google is aware of it as Brianna, one of the forum moderators for Google, posted that she escalated the issue to the powers that be. By the way, this also happened almost a month ago as well. The good news is that Google fixed it that time. So relax! With all the recent changes made in Google’s local search results and its focus on the mobile marketing platform, Google is probably hard at work concocting its newest formula for Google Places. In the meantime, make a comment below and lets conjecture about what we would like to see Google do next! Got any ideas?