For fun, I decided to add my restaurant in Google Maps. I found out there were two things I could do – add it as a Local Business via Google Maps, or use Google Mapmaker.
Adding Local Business to Google Maps
After logging in to my Google Account, Google Maps let me add a business listing from the left sidebar itself.
I could correct the location marker position easily by dragging it on the map. After entering all the relevant details like contact information, restaurant details, etc., I am done. Now comes the funny part – how does Google verify that I am indeed the owner of this business?
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Google – the symbol of our high-tech age, the epitome of cloud computing – will send me a postcard via snail mail! I get a radio button (option button) but there’s no other way to choose. Can’t they verify simply by calling up on the telephone numbers I’ve provided?!
So now, I’ve to wait for “2–3 weeks”, and after receiving the PIN via snail mail, I get to verify and add my listing. I remember the last time I had to register for Internet Banking after opening a bank account in India!
Curiously, there’s a nice little feature that’s not prominent while using the Local Business Center site – Coupons! Coupons are not as popular in India as in the US, but because of the booming IT sector and entry of multinational (read American) pizza-majors, they’re gaining widespread even if limited use. Using Google’s Coupons, you can add a few lines of text, set an expiration date, and you’re good to go. Neat stuff.
Adding to Google Mapmaker
Adding to Google Mapmaker is simpler. Google Mapmaker seems to have a Wikipedian content authoring and moderating system.
After adding all the details, I now await for the moderator to approve my entry. Phew, no snail mail this time!
Now, I wonder if there is anything like Google Analytics to find out how many ‘hits’ my restaurant had on Google Maps – that would really be an interesting proposition…