Google added a new structured markup page for providing local business data to Google. The document says that Google is currently piloting this schema and hopes to release it soon. In summary, you can use schema to markup your web pages in order to more efficiently communicate changes to your local business data to Google. Effectively these changes would make it easier for both Google and the local business to show more accurate and real-time data in the Google local knowledge panel that shows up in the search results.
The interesting part is that Google just released the Google My Business API last week, aimed at making it easier for businesses to send data to Google with updated local business information in a programmatic manner.
This schema method differs in that the markup is added directly to your web site and as Google crawls your site and notices the markup, Google can use the data to update their local business data. I assume this would also update data within Google My Business.
Google wrote in the developer documentation:
We are currently piloting this feature with a restricted set of initial data providers. We hope to soon open up the feature so any provider who implements spec-compliant markup is eligible to participate.
It is unclear how soon Google will releasee this to the public, but you can likely start adding this markup to your own site.
To learn more, see the documentation here.
This was first noticed by Rohan Ayyar, who notified me of this on Twitter.