Google+ Local to Replace Google Places
The day that many SEO and inbound marketing experts have anticipated has finally come, Google+ and Google+ pages for business has been merged together as one. The merge has created something called Google+ Local pages and has roughly affected 80 million Google+ pages worldwide.
Here are just a few of the changes that will take place:
• Google Places pages will now be referred to as Google+ Local pages
• Google+ will now show a tab reading “Local”
• Zagat reviews will now be integrated free of charge
• Google properties will now integrate Google+ Local pages in its search results
• Reviews and recommendations will now be filtered out of your circles to include them from friends, family and colleagues.
Along with these changes, Google's star rating system will be replaced by Zagat’s 30 point scale. All this is done in effort to not only be consistent with ratings and services, but also to make it possible for users to discover things through new avenues. Google.com, Google maps as well as different mobile apps will be just a few of the ways this will be possible. Google says doing this will make the features within Google.com stronger as well as more functional. Many of the new features will resemble that of the popular application Foursquare, letting you see things within your circles or places friends have “touched”. This creates a bigger search area and creates a larger platform in which to review ratings and reviews. Also, another useful feature of the merger is the ability to sort out content based on certain criteria. If you are looking for a deli within your circles that received an above average review, you will be able to filter out results that don’t fit the bill.
Originally Google had set out to make Places into a more interactive platform where merchants and business owners could interact with their customers on a more personal level, as well as making inbound marketing efforts a little bit less complicated. Because of the limitations of the Places pages, this simply is not possible. However Local is much more interactive than its predecessor and has much more of a social feel to it, making it on par with other social media sites. Being more visually appealing as well as interactive gives Google+ Local pages a wider array of content and services than the previous platform allowed for and gives users' interactions much like those of Facebook and Twitter. Google claims that there are many more features to suit merchant users to come in the near future.
With all of the new technology that is coming out from Google, it’s not strange that Android platforms are the first to be mobile compatible; however Google says that updates have been submitted to others such as Apple and Blackberry. But for the time being, the new updated Google is leaving the mobile applications a bit user un-friendly.