Google Maps, Search Add "Black-Owned" Attribute To Business Listings

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Google has added a new attribute — dubbed "Black-owned" — for business owners to distinguish their businesses in Maps and Search. As implied, and as reported, the descriptor is set aside for a select group of businesses. Namely, those that are owned by members of the Black community.

The new Black-owned attribute appears alongside and just like the others the company has available for verified business profiles. That means that it can be found in any of a few locations in Google Maps and Search results. One such location is under the "About" section of any listing in either location. But Google has designed a new icon for listings too, placed alongside listings under the "Highlights" subheading.

Those are the same segments users can refer to for other attributes, ranging in breadth from "Women-Led" and "LGBTQ-friendly" to "Fast service" and "Outdoor seating."

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The new icon for Black-owned businesses is a three-striped orange circle icon, with three distinct orange hues. A black heart resides at the center, tilted slightly to the right.

This is not a new endeavor for Google and not limited to Maps or Search

Now, Google has put forward a significant effort over the past several months in a bid to better serve users and the Black community. As CEO Sundar Pichai noted in June, the company has seen a surge in searches. Specifically for searches for 'Black-owned businesses' in the wake of events that have also led to nationwide and often world-wide protests. In response, Sundar Pichai indicated the company would be working on "initiatives and product ideas" that would support "long term solutions" for the Black community.

Where does this attribute fit in the grand scheme of things?

For this attribute, in particular, Google has partnered with the US Black Chambers, Inc. The partnership focuses on training aimed at raising the presence of Black-owned businesses through the use of precisely these types of attributes online via Google's My Business. But also via analytics.

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Google also committed $300 million to the endeavor, with part of that supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs. Specifically via integration of these types of attributes and via digital skills training programs through Grow with Google Digital Coaches. Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders is off to a great start as well, working with 12 startups so far.

This also follows on changes made to Google Assistant and other awareness or presence-raising efforts.