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  • Sunday, 14 July 2024
Google Business Profiles

Changes to Google Business Profiles: Chat Functionality Retiring

Google has announced that it will be shutting down the chat and call history features on Google Business Profiles in July as part of its efforts to streamline its business tools.

Overview of Google Business Chat

You might be wondering, “What exactly is this feature?” Although not widely used, Google Business Chat currently allows users of Google Search, Maps, and Shopping to contact businesses directly from the in-stream listings by initiating a chat from the display. This feature is an optional component of the Google Business profile that needs to be specifically activated or deactivated for each Google platform. Additionally, businesses are required to respond to any messages within 24 hours.

Potential Benefits of Google Business Chat

The chat feature provides a simple way for users to contact businesses and, in theory, could help generate more leads from Google listings. This direct communication channel could be beneficial for businesses looking to engage with potential customers more efficiently.

Challenges and Limited Adoption

However, the feature hasn't gained significant popularity. One possible reason is the 24-hour response time requirement, which may have been a deterrent for some businesses. Additionally, many business owners might not have been aware of the feature's existence. Due to these factors, the uptake hasn't been sufficient to justify its continuation.

Official Shutdown Timeline

Google will stop allowing new chats to be initiated starting on July 15, 2024. The chat and call history features will be completely disabled on July 31, 2024. Businesses will be able to download their chat and call history from Google Business Profiles before the data is permanently deleted by Google at a later date.

Impact on Businesses

The shutdown of these features is not expected to have a significant impact since they are not major elements of the Google Business offering. However, businesses that have been using this feature should take note of its discontinuation and prepare for users to no longer be able to initiate chats from Google Surface.

In summary, while the chat and call history features provided an additional way for users to contact businesses, their limited use has led to Google's decision to retire these options as of July 31, 2024.


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