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Google’s announced that it will be shutting down the chat and call history features on Google Business Profiles in July, as it moves to streamline its business tools.

“The what?” I hear you ask.

Yeah, it’s not a highly used element of the Google Business offering, but right now, users of Google Search, Maps and Shopping can get in touch with your business direct from the in-stream listings, by initiating a chat from the display.

Google Business chat is an optional element of your Google Business profile, which you need to specifically activate and/or deactivate for each Google platform, with an important proviso being that businesses have to reply to any messages within 24 hours.

That provides another, simple way for users to make contact, and could, at least in theory, help you generate more leads from your Google listings.

But evidently, it hasn’t proven popular.

I’d hazard a guess that the 24-hour time limit is one impediment, while it’s also quite possible that a lot of business owners didn’t know that it existed. But either way, it’s not seeing enough take-up to keep supporting it, so Google’s retiring the option as of July 31st, 2024.

As reported by Search Engine Land:

“Google will stop allowing new chats to be initiated starting on July 15, 2024 and then will totally disable the chat and call history features on July 31, 2024. You can download your chat and call history from Google Business Profiles, so you can store them somewhere. At some point, Google will delete the history.”

Again, it’s not a major element, so the impact won’t be significant. But if you have been using this feature, it’s worth noting that it’s going away, and that users will no longer be able to initiate a chat from Google surfaces.

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