Google Discontinues Google Business Messages: Here’s Our Take

Google has announced that it will discontinue Google Business Messages (GBM) on July 31, 2024.

Google Business Messages is the chat feature offered within Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). It allows businesses to communicate with customers directly through their business profiles on Google Search and Google Maps. 

So what does this mean for the millions of businesses using this feature every day?

Here's a quick overview of the situation, why it’s happening, and how we can help.

What Features Will Be Gone and When?

Google will shut down two integral features in Google Business Profile

  • Chat: This feature allows businesses to communicate directly with their customers in real-time via messages and is integrated into Google Search and Google Maps.
  • Call History: This feature is designed to help businesses track and manage phone calls made by customers from their Business Profile listing.

Google will shut down these features on the dates below

  • July 15, 2024: You will no longer be able to initiate new chats in Google Business Profile.
  • July 31, 2024: The chat functionality will be completely gone and you will no longer be able to view your call history in Google Business Profile.

View Google’s official announcement here for more context.

Why Is Google Removing Business Messages?

We think Google's decision to remove the Business Profile chat feature from Google Search and Maps is a strategic move driven by several key challenges and considerations.

Adoption and Engagement Struggles

Despite Google's best efforts, the chat feature never fully resonated with business owners in comparison to other chat solutions, like those from Facebook and Instagram. The stringent requirements for response times and manual availability settings added complexity and burden.

Businesses were required to respond within 24 hours to avoid deactivation, a rule designed to ensure prompt customer service but often impractical for small businesses with limited resources.

According to a Forrester/Google report, only 38% of businesses felt equipped to manage chat within these time constraints. Additionally, owners had to manually set their availability, which added another layer of complexity. We believe many businesses were unaware of, or didn't prioritize, the feature due to these challenges.

Multi-Channel Communication Complexities

Today's businesses must navigate a complex landscape of communication channels. Customer expectations are high, with 68% of consumers more likely to buy from businesses offering convenient communication options.

Many customers have increased their use of third-party messaging (51%), texting (40%), and website chat (38%), with some using these tools for the first time.

According to the LSA Tech Adoption Index Survey, small businesses face significant operational strain, with only 33% of their time spent practicing their craft and the remainder consumed by administrative and communication tasks.

This makes it difficult for them to manage multiple communication channels effectively. They're prioritizing higher-traffic channels (like Facebook and Instagram) and using technology like Vendasta's Inbox, an advanced communication platform that links directly into your CRM, to combine multiple channels into a single shared team inbox (more on this later).

Monetization Challenges

A crucial factor behind Google's decision is the inability to effectively monetize the chat feature. The chat feature did not integrate seamlessly with Google’s advertising programs, limiting its revenue potential.

At Vendasta, we've taken a different approach. We've successfully integrated chat with Amazon Sponsored Display Ads. Our AI-assisted lead capture web chat widget intelligently answers visitors' questions, captures qualified leads, and leverages $500 in free Amazon Sponsored Display Ads to drive more leads and conversions.

This approach has shown super positive results, demonstrating how chat can be effectively monetized when paired with robust advertising strategies.

“Google's decision to phase out the Business Profile chat feature underscores the complexities businesses face in managing multiple communication channels and highlights the strategic necessity of focusing on monetizable and high-impact tools. At Vendasta, our successful integration of chat with Amazon Display Ads showcases the potential for driving engagement and revenue through effective advertising strategies.”

Rylan Morris

VP of Product Marketing, Vendasta

Strategic Realignment

We believe that by discontinuing underperforming features like the chat, Google can focus on optimizing their core advertising products and other high-impact tools. 

Let’s take a look at the bigger picture. Google's ad revenue amounted to 237.86 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. It’s clear that Google prioritizes features that help them grow the core of their business, which largely amounts to their paid digital advertising services.

This strategic realignment allows better resource allocation and enhances the overall value proposition of these services.

How Vendasta Can Help

Small and medium-sized businesses need help with online communication. Our goal as a white-label provider is to equip agencies with the right tools to help empower their local business clients.

With only 33% of an SMB’s time spent practicing their craft, these businesses don’t have time for more communication channels.

With all the moving pieces involved in running a business, business owners and teams need help capturing leads, organizing and responding to messages, and managing customer data and communication.

Vendasta does just that with Inbox Pro

Google Discontinues Google Business Messages. Solution: Inbox Pro

Vendasta helps digital agencies empower local businesses with an essential digital inbox.

Inbox Pro not only helps your clients convert leads and engage customers – it also provides the foundational elements of a customer experience platform. With CRM and messaging capabilities, your clients are better positioned to win repeat business from their customers.

Here’s what Inbox Pro has to offer

  • Share and Simplify Communications: Your clients can see and respond to all customer communication in one place, from SMS, email, Facebook, and more.
  • Put Your Customer Data to Use: Your clients can start detailed customer records with just an email or phone number, segment customers with flexible filters and sorting, and automate common tasks to save time.
  • Capture More Leads with AI: Our AI-assisted web chat automatically generates contact details from website visitors, answers questions automatically using business data, and adds knowledge and instructions using a simple interface. Take a look:



Vendasta's AI-driven web chat has been turning heads throughout the industry, even receiving praise from folks at Google.

Here are a few things that make Vendasta's chat widget better than Google's:

  • Knowledge Base: The knowledge base is larger and more intelligent, using several models to answer each question asked.
  • Ease of Implementation: Vendasta's web chat can be set up in a matter of minutes. This includes learning all the content on a business' website (yes, all of it).
  • Connects Directly With CRM: Immediately after a lead asks a question, their info is summarized and connected to the CRM. The AI agent (think of them as your brand new, best-performing employee) asks for the lead's name and contact information in a non-intrusive way and intelligently summarizes the points of the conversation.
  • Understands Its Limits: The agent answers all questions possible but will not make #$%& up. For instance, if it's added to a legal site and someone asks for case specifics, it will politely decline and push appointment booking. 

While businesses are losing a valuable and necessary tool through Google, this can actually be an opportunity to drive better, more effective communication with customers.

Rebrand and resell Inbox Pro to your local business clients today. Because no SMB deserves to be set back due to Google’s decisions—we’ve got you covered.

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