Google now makes it easier for business owners to see who is reviewing them across the web. Verified business owners who are already using the recently updated Places for Business user interface can now go to their profiles, where they’ll find a new “Reviews” section. There, they will find all of their customers’ online reviews and be able to respond to them. The service also offers some basic review analytics so businesses can track how their reputation changes over time.
The service doesn’t just pull in reviews from Google properties, by the way. It also aggregates data from around the web, too. This makes it a pretty comprehensive tool for business owners who want to manage their online reputations. Google will pull in data from most of the review sites that currently allow it to snippet their content, including TripAdvisor, Zagat, UrbanSpoon, Insider Pages and others.
Unsurprisingly, Google gives ratings on its own sites first billing and separates them out from other properties, but this tool still offers businesses an easy and free way to see what people are saying about their cupcakes or car repair services.
Google isn’t the first company to start tracking online reviews for small and medium business. Services like ReviewTrackers and others offer similar services – though often with more additional features. Most companies don’t yet make use of these services, however, so a free Google service for managing online reputations will likely attract quite a few users.