18 December, 2019

Google changes how businesses show opening information

Businesses rely on Google displaying up-to-date and accurate information about their store locations and business trading hours. 

The Google Places library provides a comprehensive database with over 100 million points of interest and a billion monthly active users relying on this information to guide their decision making.

Google has announced changes to features stored in its Javascript Places library that will affect retailers and businesses wanting to show whether a store is open now and the local time of where the store is located, known as the UTC (time standard) offset. 

To make sure you’ve got all the information you need to understand the impact on your business and ensure there is no service disruption, we’ve highlighted what you need to know and how to prepare your service for the changes.

What do I need to know?

Google announced that both the UTC offset and Open now features will be deprecated and replaced with new properties as of November the 20th 2019. The new properties will bring consistency to how the features are called across different platforms (Maps Javascript API, Places SDK for Android, Places SDK for iOS). 

Users that are currently calling these details have one year to update their code to reflect the new changes. As of November 20th 2020, the Javascript Places library will stop accepting the “utc_offset” and “opening_hours.open_now” fields and will respond with an “unsupported field name” error in return. 

The current properties are listed as: 

  • UTC offset: utc_offset 
  • Opening hours: opening_hours.open_now

What do I need to do?

To ensure you have the right properties in place and prevent user experience disruptions, please follow the Place Field Migration guide to make the parameter substitutions.

The new properties are listed as:

  • UTC offset: utc_offset_minutes
  • Opening hours: Open()

Google will charge your business based on the information requested from the Places library, known as ‘fields’. If you have not set up the ‘fields’ parameter in your Places Details request, placing restrictions around the Places Details information will ensure you pay for only what you need. 

Liveli can help you get the most out of your Google Maps licensing for your business

Liveli is a Google Maps Premier Partner that offers partner volume discounts and support options to help you get the most from the Google Maps Platform. If you want to get started or need technical support using the Google Maps Platform, get in touch with the Liveli team.

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