According to the Google LatLong blog, starting today, Google is permitting companies to respond to reviews about them online.

For those unaware what this means, essentially it just means that if one of the reviews about your business is unflattering in Google Maps (now Google Places ... see sample image below), you can respond.

This is a very positive move! Business owners are now able to give their perspective. There are always two sides to every story, and generally the truth lies somewhere in the middle, so now both sides of the story can be aired.

What does this mean to you ... our SEP readers?

1. claim your Google Places listing (see this article ... How To Claim Your Google Maps Listing)

2. respond only when your perspective needs told. If the reviewer is obviously dillusional, sometimes its best to let things be. Google also provides more tips for responding to reviews here.

3. If you do chose to respond, here are Google's instructions for doing so.

Great move Google!