Google have been trying just about everything to try and get Google+ to get some traction. There was quite a buzz around it’s launch, but since it was largely seen as “another Facebook” by the general populace it failed to take over that market.
Google announced the change on Wednesday, and today local listings in search results have changed in format (see below)
At present the system seems to be in a state of flux. The top listing above is showing the new scoring system which replaces the star system of Google Places.
Zagat and Google
Restaurant reviewers Zagat have teamed up with Google for the new system. I say teamed up, but actually Google just went and bought Zagat in September which makes working together much easier! It will not only be food that is scored though. In fact there will be more than one category in some verticals.
I’m a business owner, how do I access my Google Places information now?
For now you can still access your Google+ Local information through the unchanged Google Places interface. I’m sure that will change down the line. After all, it is in Google’s best interest to force people onto their social network. If you are a business owner you do not need to reclaim your business or anything like that.
What happens to my old reviews and data from Google Places?
This section applies specifically to reviews, not to editing your business. The next time you write a review (on Google+ Local) you will be asked what you want to do with your old ones. The reason you will be asked is that from now on your name will be on every review you post! Maybe this will cut down on fake reviews but it is more likely to just result in more fake Google+ accounts in my opinion.
You will be asked whether you want to make old posts private or to put your name on them. You have to deselect boxes to remove your name. Reviews with no name will essentially not count. I know I had to make a few private, even though they were legitimate reviews, simply because they belonged to clients. I don’t want people screaming “FAKE REVIEW” even though I only ever gave on if it was genuine.
What will the changes to Google Places achieve?
Personally I like the new look. I like the prices displayed beside the hotels in the example above. Was it like that before? I don’t think so and if it was I never noticed. I also like the multiple review categories.
I don’t really like that I have been on Google+ for the first time in about 6 months. I’d given it up as dead and I don’t really expect that to change. That said, it does make sense for Google to put everything in one place.