Is there a place for Google Place Pages? Google recently unveiled its Google Place Pages in Google Maps. This feature is accessible via the "More Info" tab on any listing. The whole point of Google Place Pages is to get as much information about one place (business, city, points of interest, landmarks, etc.) in one central place. Instead of having to hunt down information through several websites, you would be able to not only get information about the particular business/point of interest you are looking for, but you will also have access to photos, maps, directions, a street view and even available transportation. The upside of using Google Place Pages is that it is a handy way to keep all information about a particular business or tourist spot in one location. This keeps people focused on one spot instead of clicking from place to place on the internet in search of exactly what they're looking for.
Unfortunately, there appear to be a few downsides as well. Many people have raised the concern that Place Pages will become so attractive to web surfers that they will replace visiting the businesses' actual websites, which may hurt them instead of help them. Also, the pages allow for visitors to add their own content to the page. So, if someone decides to trash your business for any reason, it is there for the public to see. Sponsored links show up on these pages, too. Some people have voiced their concerns that this may mean that an ad for a competitor will pop up on their own Place Page.
Bottom line, search engines are constantly coming up with ways to keep you on their site rather than going somewhere else. Having all this information in one place is nice, but how will it impact small businesses? We won't know until this feature has been out longer. What do you think? Is there a place for Google Place Pages? Let me know. I want to hear what side of the coin you land on.