Yesterday, Search Engine Land notified me that Google Places now has its own iPhone App. Perfect, that's what I needed, another app to add to my full-occupied (4) screens (I should really get rid of some). Many of the location based application I have on my phone include Gowalla, FourSquare, Facebook Places, Google Places, Yelp, and SCVNGR. Why do I have so many? No reason, I just like experimenting with new things Do I really need all these apps? Probably not. But it would be useful if those that reward me for check-ins that I'd have a single application that would help me check-in to ALL without having to open and load each one, and then check-in. Here are a couple screen shots as to what the new Google Places iPhone app looks like.
As you can see, the main screen is organized into nine different categories. Information about your proximity is located right under the search bar, and above the Rate Now button (which if you click, you can rate the business that is currently displayed, very convenient indeed!).
If you click on any of those categories, you will find that businesses that are closest to you will be listed first. I guess there is no way of optimizing Google Places listings for mobile is there? If you've claimed, completed your profile 100%, it may encourage people to click through to your Places page more.
You may also ask, why are there only 9 categories? I believe that they must be the most searched for or the most relevant places people would search for if they were on the road. Would you agree? Should there be another category that Google should add to the Google Places app?
These pre-defined categories are important for business owners to consider when they've claimed their listings. They must ensure that their business is placed in the proper category, or it may not show up. This may encourage business to claim their listings and complete their profiles to prevent their business from showing up in the wrong category (if that's even possible, or Google does a wrong calculation and places them there).
The Google Places iPhone app will be a great feature that business owners can leverage to get more reviews in order to increase their brand awareness. You too can help contribute and help those great small businesses grow. Share your thoughts at Google Places.