Google rolled out Google+ Local at the end of May 2012, a platform that combines both Google+ (Google’s social network) and Google Places, which was previously used to pinpoint business and residential places on Google Maps, accompanied by descriptions, reviews and opening hours. Google Places is being merged with Zagat, a scoring and reviews system that Google merged with last year.
You can see the new ‘Local’ tab when you login to your Google account. To do so, login to Gmail, click your Google+ tab. Down the side you’ll see a number of tabs, beginning with Home, Profile, Explore, etc. Just above the ‘Games’ tab is the new ‘Local’ tab. It should look a little something like this:
Here’s a few things you may need to know about Google+ Local.
1.) Your listings are a-okay!
There’s been a bit of confusion surrounding what happens to old Google Places listings, but never fear – your listing still exists. Google has kindly merged it straight into your Google+ profile for you, and you don’t need to do a thing.
2.) What on earth is Zagat?
Google merged with scoring system Zagat mid-last year, and are just now putting the merge into action. Zagat allows businesses to be scored via a rating system. You can take a look at the intricate workings of Zagat here, but basically it works like this: when someone reviews your business, they’ll give it a score from 0-3, 0 being poor, 3 being excellent. Zagat averages the scores out and the overall rating then appears next to the listing. Again, 0 is very poor, 30 is perfect.
3.) How does the reviews system work?
The reviewing system has been put in place to enhance the experience for Google+ Local users – not only can you now view business details, but you can also read detailed customer reviews before choosing to go somewhere. Check out this page for the Moon and Sixpence Pub. That blue ‘Write a review’ button below the map could become very handy for your business – encouraging customers to write reviews could work in your favour.
4.) What else is exciting about this update?
The new Local search function is much simpler than the previous search options, and you should be able to find almost any business in the country by typing in the first few letters. Social value; the businesses that appear first in your Local tab are taken from friend reviews, from others in your Circles, or from your Google Interests.