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AndroidPhone_Oct21_CIt’s widely believed that businesses need to have an online presence. There are many ways a business can do this, one of the more useful is to have a Places page on Google. If you have a Google Places for Business page and an Android device, the company has recently released a mobile app to help you manage your Places page.

Here is an overview of the Places for Business app.

What is the Places for Business app?
It is becoming increasingly apparent that users are conducting more business on their mobile devices. One function of business that has been slow to adopt the mobile platform is marketing. Sure, there are mobile specific ads and most apps come with advertising, but many marketing platforms lack mobile centric apps.

Take for example Google Places for Business. If you needed to change something or manage your Places page, you would have to either do so on a desktop or in your device’s browser which can render a full desktop page, which is usually a bit of a chore.

Because Google Places for Business is an important part of the Google platform – it gives businesses a centralized way to manage their business’s presence on Google’s services – many marketers and business owners usually pay close attention to this. As such, they needed an easy way to access and manage their information from a mobile device.

Google has recently answered that request by launching the Google Places for Business Android app. With this app users can control and update their Places listings from their Android device. You can also change your business’s hours, description, contact information, add photos and even post updates on Google+.

However, the most important feature of this app is that it allows you to view business related metrics, such as the effectiveness of your Ad campaigns and changes. While this is a feature rich app, it currently doesn’t have all the functionality of the desktop app. For example, you can’t respond to user reviews or create new listings from the app. It is also only available for businesses in the US, but should be available worldwide soon.

If you are looking to learn more about this app, or how you can establish a presence on Google Places for Business, please contact us today.

Unrestricted Internet access has risks

Security_Nov14_COpen and unrestricted Internet access is one thing we consider to be a right, especially true for the younger generation who have grown up with it in their homes. Many have come to rely on the Internet both for work and day-to-day life. As such, they demand unrestricted Internet access at work, and many company bosses have obliged. Unbeknownst to them, however, there may be a risk associated with this.

Here’s four potentially negative outcomes that can result from unrestricted Internet access.

Loss of productivity
We live in a world where we are reliant on the Internet and the once clear line between work and life has blurred into more or less the same thing. When we’re at work, it’s often hard to resist the temptation of checking our email, personal Facebook accounts, or even the news. When we do this, we aren’t focusing on work which could mean we are less productive as a result.

Legal liability
The potential legal liabilities from improper use of the Internet while at work could lead to some serious legal implications. For example, over 27% of Fortune 500 companies have been accused of sexual harassment stemming from inappropriate emails sent by employees. To go one step further, in the US, the Supreme Court has ruled that companies can be held liable for their employees forwarding offensive or illegal material.

Reputation damage
There are numerous cases where an employee has received an email and forwarded it to several other employees, who then in turn forward it on until it reaches someone who is unintentionally offended. It’s made worse when this email is plastered with company branding and from a work email address. In serious cases word can leak to the media and the company‚Äôs reputation takes a serious hit.

Increased bandwidth consumption
Websites like YouTube, or those with some sort of streaming media, can be bandwidth intensive. With services like these, you’ll notice that anything that relies on an Internet connection runs slower. This alone will increase costs, especially if you rely on the Internet and need to purchase more than one connection to keep speeds where they should be.

With these four outcomes, it seems like the answer might be obvious: you should limit or block non-essential websites. Be warned however, younger generations entering the workforce have come to rely on and expect openness, and freedom of the Internet. Watch your typical Gen Y work, and they will use the Internet both for work and relaxation. Draconian blocking of sites could in fact bring about an even larger decrease in productivity in these Internet-hungry employees, as they either focus on finding ways to circumvent the block instead of working, or simply leave the company.

So, what is the best solution? The answer is one many companies have struggled with. The truth is, it’s different for every company, but the one thing productive companies have in common is a policy on Internet use, combined with taking adequate steps in terms of security. Many tech companies allow free and open access to sites like Facebook in the belief that even if used for personal measures, the employee is spreading the word about the company. If you’re not an expert in this, or would like some guidance, we are happy to help, so please get in touch.

Published on 16th November 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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