When Sundar Pichai revealed Google's initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, he promised to give business owners a quick way to mark themselves as "temporarily closed." That way, people can look up which local shops are open and what hours they're operating, so they don't have to wander outside longer than they should. Now, the tech giant has finally published instructions on how businesses can update their profiles and mark themselves as "temporarily closed" on Maps and Search.
Google My Business users can go to "Close this business on Google" in the menu to find the new feature. As SearchEngineLand notes, that section now shows three options: "Mark as temporarily closed," "Mark as permanently closed" and "Remove Listing." Prior to launching the capability, Google only relied on information from governments and other authoritative sources.
Of course, the feature's usefulness still depends on whether businesses take the time to update their status. Google previously said, however, that it's using an AI technology where possible to ask businesses to confirm and update their operating hours.