Suggesting Changes to Google Places


Summary

This post explains how to update the categorization of a business in Google Places.

Google Maps Icon Buttons

The Fuse app lets drivers record fuel purchases. One of the features it has is populating a pulldown of nearby gas stations so that the driver doesn't have to type all that in. I buy gas at the Costco in Lehi occasionally and I noticed it wasn't in the list while the Costco in Orem was. I got to wondering how the data for Google Places (the API Fuse uses) is collected and updated.

A quick search of the Costco in Lehi and the on in Orem on Google Maps didn't show any difference. There also wasn't an obvious difference when I drilled into the reviews. It was only when I clicked on the "Edit details" link that I noticed that the Costco in Orem had the following categories:

Optician, Discount Store, Gas Station, Department Store, Wholesale Club,...

whereas the one in Lehi only showed this:

Department Store

Fortunately, Google takes user comments on business listings, so I clicked "add category" and added "Gas Station." The change doesn't show up right away since Google reviews these types of changes.

So, the sequence for updating a business categorization:

  1. Find the business on Google Maps
  2. Click the "N reviews" link (or the "Write a review" link)
  3. Click "Edit details" under "Contact Information"
  4. Click the ">" to the left of "Category" to expose the category entry fields
  5. Edit as needed
  6. Submit

All in all, this is not easy to discover without some poking around. I'd tried looking from my phone a few times and never got far enough to make a change. But, once you know the secret, it's not too hard. I'm surprised that Costco doesn't do a better job of categorizing its stores in things like Google Places.