Google has introduced a new label in Maps and Search that allows businesses to self-identify as LGBTQ+ owned, adding to a series of labels already on Google Maps that are meant to help people locate and support local businesses. It also comes with the capability to report any related harassment.
On Wednesday, the company announced the new feature, which is available to merchants in the US with a verified business profile on Google. Other labels that already exist on the platform are Black-owned, Latino-owned, veteran-owned and women-owned businesses. The labels have to be added by the business owner themselves rather than by members of the community. Once added, the labels will show up on Google Maps, and in search results for LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Google does not currently have a system in place to verify the self-identifiable labels, although it does make it clear that the label was added by the business itself.
Google already has tools and resources in place for people seeking LGBTQ+ friendly businesses, allowing business owners to add certain labels to their Google Maps and Search results such as, “LGBTQ friendly,” “Transgender safespace,” and “Gender-neutral restroom.”
“This builds on our previous work with the globally available LGBTQ+ friendly and transgender safespace attributes, and offers a more objective attribute that only businesses can add to their profiles,” Mackenzie Thomas, product and marketing inclusion lead at Google, wrote in a statement.
In order to add the label, business owners need to go to their profile, click on ‘edit profile,’ and select ‘business information.’ From the ‘more’ tab, there will be a list of categories that business owners can identify as. Google also has a system through which business owners can report any abuse or harassment they receive from customers as a result of their label. “You can report negative or abusive reviews that you believe you’ve received as a result of identifying your business as owned by someone of the identity you’ve selected,” the company wrote. “Google will investigate each report and strive to take appropriate action.”