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Google Business Messages in Maps and Search shutting down

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For the past several years, Google Search and Maps has offered a Business Messages capability that lets customers reach out to stores, restaurants, etc. via text chat. This is now shutting down in July.

For businesses that enabled this feature, a “Chat” — initially “Message” — button appeared in listings on Google Search and Maps. This allowed you to have a chat conversation with that business (human or bot). You could send/receive images, while there was support for read receipts. 

Behind-the-scenes, “Messages you send with your Google Account are stored and encrypted with Google Cloud.” Your email was not shared with “businesses you have messaged,” just your name and profile picture (if set). In one regard, this form of communication keeps your phone number private.

Google announced today (via Search Engine Land) that the “chat feature in Google Business Profile will no longer be available” on July 31, 2024. 

  • Beginning July 15, 2024, customers won’t be able to start new chat conversations with your business from Google. Customers in existing chat conversations will be notified about the feature phaseout.
  • On July 31, 2024, the chat feature will be removed in Google Business Profile. You won’t receive new chat messages. Customers can still find and contact your business through Google Search and Maps.

Google’s advice is to add a phone number to listings or use Reserve with Google

We acknowledge this may be difficult news – as we continually improve our tools, we occasionally have to make difficult decisions which may impact the businesses and partners we work with. It’s important to us that Google remains a helpful partner as you manage your business and we remain committed to this mission.

It’s important to note that “Business Messages” is different from “RCS Business Messaging.” Google is presumably consolidating around that richer experience. For example, you can check-in and get your boarding pass when chatting with an airline using the Google Messages app.

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