First came Google+ Local, which was then transitioned to Google Places, which has now morphed into Google My Business. Google is great at letting you become familiar with their tools just before they implement a massive overhaul that forces you to change and learn a new set of tools. And repeat.

But not this time. Often Google’s changes elicits groans and headaches from its users. Google My Business, which debuted in June, seems to be a welcome update that straightens out a lot of the problems people experienced with Google+ Local and Google Places.

About Google My Business

Google’s definition: “A free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are.”

In a nutshell, Google My Business is Google’s attempt at making the management of local business data and business social pages more efficient. They’ve seemingly combined the best features of Google + and Google Places in an easy-to-use dashboard. And if you’re already on Google Places and Google +, Google will automatically upgrade them to Google My Business. These changes mean that business owners waste less time, allowing them to spend more time actually running their business.

Check out Google’s snappy video that breaks down how Google My Business can help your business and “unlock the full potential of Google”.

Pros of Google My Business

  • Clean dashboard. One great feature about Google My Business is how simplified and visually appealing its dashboard is. It’s quite beautiful and intuitive.
  • Everything is in one place. One dashboard holds local business data and social pages together. This is a great improvement from before when you had use one system to manage local business data and then use another system to manage the social page.
  • Quick access to key features. Now Reviews, Insights, Google Share +, and YouTube are just a click away without overcrowding your dashboard.

Cons of Google My Business

  • Access to less data. Unfortunately, the side effect of a cleaner dashboard means that you don’t have easy access to a whole heap of data. Unlike its previous incarnations, Google My Business does not include keyword data, custom fields and tags, custom Q&A fields and Coupons and Offers.

Other Changes to Google My Business

  • You can write a longer introduction (for the verbose business owner).
  • You can upload more photos (which is great for engagement).
  • You can invite followers to hangouts.
  • Home services and non-local businesses benefit from the product. You don’t need a Google Maps location to be listed on Google My Business.

Since it’s still new, the downsides are just not as apparent yet. But overall, Google My Business is a big step in the right direction. The consolidated local business data and social pages will be a great benefit to businesses. And its simple and clean dashboard will mean that fewer business owners will be intimidated by Google.

What do you think of Google My Business? Yay or Nay? Let us know in the comments.