If you are a business owner or even if you use a business (so basically everyone) a handy little update to Google's 'My Business' app is rolling out today. If you have never heard of My Business by Google then this was an app released by Google back in June. If you need a quick introduction then the My Business app allows business owners to track how well their businesses are doing in the Google ecosystem. In particular the app was designed to note interactions with businesses through Google Search, Maps and Google+. The My Business app allows business owners to add further information to all three of the Google services, pictures and generally keep potential customers up-to-date on your business. This obviously would hopefully help to drive customers towards the business.
However, today's new update adds the ability for business owners to respond to reviews and comments in real time. This is good for both businesses and customers. With the new update businesses who use the service will receive instant notifications when a review or comment is posted via the Google ecosystem. This will allow businesses to be immediately aware of anything that customers thought was good or bad. As a result, the business owners (or managers) will be able to respond back to the comments in real time. For businesses this will allow them to instantly answer questions or respond back to any criticism received. While for customers this is just as beneficial as the service will allow you to receive a quick and real-time response form any comments you make. Don't like something, tell them, they will know and (hopefully) will respond immediately.
For most people this might not seem like a massive update and presumably technically it does not require much of a change. That said, the effects certainly should be noticed in the future and especially by those who use Google to either promote their business or customers who often use Google to warn or encourage others. Of course the onus is now on the business owners, as all those potential and hacked off customers who leave a review will know that you have seen and can reply. I guess for the bad businesses out there this is not such a good update.