Google Testing Local Click to Chat via Hangouts


Linda Buquet

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<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Chat.jpg" alt="Chat" width="65%" height="373" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-9070" />​

There have been numerous posts about the new live chat feature Google is testing for local, so I realize I'm a little late to the party on this. I link to the top stories below.

But first I want to feature a post by Nick Rink from Smart Local Marketing. He shared in a discussion at our Local Search Pros G+ Community, that he was able to trigger the chat option for a client. Then he did a full post with screen shots of him chatting back and forth with himself, through his client's account.

The screenshot above is Nick's client, I just added some markup.
And here is his post with more screenshots.

<a href="http://smart-local.co.uk/google-chat-button/">Google Chat Button lets you Connect with Local Consumers | Smart Local</a>

In the past couple of days there have been several reports (here and here) about Google testing a “Chat” button live in organic search results. It’s been appearing for a few businesses in the Local Knowledge Panel to the right of the organic search results. Although the reports have stated that Google is simply testing the Chat button, we’ve now seen it show up for this London florist. (Full disclosure – they are a current client). After multiple screenshots and some digging around here’s what we’ve found out so far.

Where does the Google Chat button show up?

On desktop it’s currently showing however you get the knowledge panel to show. So either through a branded search or a regular plain organic search with the knowledge panel being triggered by hovering over the relevant listing...

Click above to read the rest and see screenshots.
Below is his client if you want to see it live. At least for me it triggered the chat app, even though I'm in US and was just using Google . com. Wildabout Flowers London

OTHER COVERAGE:

<a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-search-tests-chat-button-local-business-box-215436">Google Search Tests "Chat" Button In Local Business Box</a>
Search Engine Land

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/02/24/google-testing-hangout-chats-in-local/">Google Testing Hangout Chats in Local | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search</a>
Mike Blumenthal

<a href="http://www.simpartners.com/google-live-chat/">Google Experiments With Live Chat in Local Search Results</a>
SIM Partners

<a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/24/google-hangouts-for-places/">Google Tests Live Chat With Businesses From Search Results</a>
TechCrunch


Seems it's being tested widely enough that this new feature that may be rolling out soon.


Questions to ponder:

Will it be free or a paid app?

Will it be for all GMB listings, or only in certain industries?

Will businesses have the option to opt-out and not use the feature?

What do you think???
<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="See other coverage and questions to ponder inside.">
<meta property="og:image" content="">
 

Nick Rink

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Thanks for posting this here Linda. I think the Chat feature could be amazing but there are still a whole ton of questions that need answering. Switching the availability on and off, along with having the ability to opt out all together would be good places to start.

To be really successful though this will need some education both at the consumer and business level. Might also be helpful if you can access it as a consumer without having a Google account.

Early days with testing, only had two chats so far and both those were from folks who'd seen the post on Google+!

By the way, if anyone wants to try the chat it'll be me on the other end of the Hangout ;)
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Nick!

I almost hit chat just to see what it was like, but didn't know who I would be bothering. :p
 

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