Looking for a new place to eat lunch near the office? Google+ Local may be able to help. Google+ Local is a simple way to discover and share local information and recommendations from the people you trust in Google+.
Integrated across Google+ and Maps you can search for local businesses around your location of choice to find reviews from the people in your “circle”.
Locations, Locations, Locations
In Google+, the Local icon can be found on the left-side bar of your account. Clicking the icon will use your router location to bring up a list of recommended places in your area with reviews from the people in your circle(s). If no one from your circle has visited the business, you will see the usual reviews and will be given the option to write your own review, +1, add photos or share the business to Google+. For some restaurants there’s also an option to reserve a table via OpenTable.
Local is all about the review. Along with the user reviews, scores and summaries from Zagat, who was acquired by Google last year, are a newly added feature on most Google+ business pages. To test out the functionality, I wrote a review on a restaurant in Dallas. Before writing my first review, I was informed that all of my reviews would be public under my Google+ name and that I’d have the opportunity to set any of my previous reviews to public. After completing this, I wrote the review and shared it with my circles. It was a pretty seamless process and knowing I contributed to the Google+ Local ecosystem gave me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.
In the Google Maps app, the Places icon has been replaced with the Local icon and a lot of the same features from the web are available in the app. Currently, the mobile version of Google+ Local is only available for Android, with changes rolling out to iOS devices soon.
Who Do You Trust?
There’s a lot of potential behind what Google is doing with Local, but they seem to be relying heavily on the Google+ers doing their part to make it useful. The question is, will having these new features cause me to write more reviews? It seems the only time I’m motivated to write one is if the business was exceptionally good or horribly bad.
Do you see yourself using Google+ Local more or will you stick with sites like Yelp for reviews? Do you plan on writing reviews to make it better? Check out how +Eve 6 uses Local while on tour. Honestly most of the people I know and trust are on Facebook. Let me know what you think.
via Google Blog