Google Local Lets Firms Amend Listings

NEW YORK Google said it has added a new tool on its local search engine for businesses to create, delete or edit their business listings.

The Google Local Business Center gives companies the option of changing their address, phone number, hours of operation, Web site address, descriptive information and other listing details. To guard against alterations from competitors, Google said it sends businesses that request changes a pass code in the mail that allows them to go online to edit their listings. The service is free.

Google Local displays business listings culled from database companies, along with results from its Web index and locally targeted text advertisements. Previously, businesses could request changes to their listings by sending Google an e-mail message, which it would then pass along to its database partners. Google does not disclose its database partners or the number of business listings in Google Local.

Yahoo Local allows companies to add business descriptions, links to promotional offers and photographs for a $9.95 per month fee. Businesses can add and edit their basic business listings for free on Yahoo Local.