Governments around the world are asking people to stay at home and for all but essential businesses to close their doors. Now Google has made it easier to find out which businesses are closed temporarily using Search and Maps.
In an blog post last week, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that a new “temporarily closed” option would become available for business owners. Pichai explained, “With so many disruptions to daily life, people are looking for more information about school or business closures. Based on data from governments and other authoritative sources, Google Search and Maps will now display if a place, like a school or local business, is temporarily closed.”
At the time, the option was promised “in the coming days.” Now, as Search Engine Land reports, the feature has appeared for businesses to update their status.
To use it, a business needs to sign into their Google My Business profile and click on the “Info” option in the menu on the left. In the section titled “Close this business on Google,” a new option appears which can be clicked called “Mark as temporarily closed.” After that, any Google search or use of Maps to locate the business should inform users of the closure.
Google is also supporting businesses adjusting their hours and “non-persistent closures” through the use of a special hours feature. It exists for special events or official holidays, but could also prove very useful during the coronavirus pandemic for any business that is continuing to trade, but with reduced hours or only on certain days of the week.