Google is hoping to help customers discover new gems as it introduces its new local search service: Google+ Local. Google+ Local serves as customers and business owners’ new home for listings, local business information, and reviews – integrating with it one of the world’s original providers of user-generated content (restaurant ratings and restaurant reviews), Zagat.
“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+,” wrote Avni Shah, director of product management, in the announcement post on the official Google Blog. “It’s integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+ – creating one simple experience across Google.”
How Google+ Local Works
With Google+ Local, customers can see reviews from people they know (those in their Google+ circles). They can also follow industry experts and insiders to get personalized recommendations on where to eat, what to do, where to go. There’s a new “Local” tab on the left side of Google+ for seeing these reviews and recommendations; customers can also find Google+ Local whenever they search for a place or local business using Google Search or Google Maps.
“Your friends know what you like, and they probably like the same things you do,” wrote Shah. “If you search for [tacos] on Google+ Local, your results might include a friend’s rave review of the Baja-style taco stand in your neighborhood. And if you’re searching on Google or Google Maps for a great place to buy a gift for that same friend, your results might include a review from her about a boutique she shops at all the time.”
The new service also features Zagat’s signature 30-point scale, which is based on a summary of users’ feedback and designed to create reviews with high standards of accuracy. Zagat, which was founded in 1979, has since become one of the world’s most-trusted sources of review information about restaurants, nightspots, hotels, tourist attractions, and small businesses.
Have you claimed your listings on Google Places? If you have, you’ll recognize that your listing is now a local Google+ page, but you can continue to edit your information through the Google Places for Business dashboard. If you don’t yet have a listing or page, you can create one without having to set up a Google+ profile.