It’s been a while since I created a post, basically because… it’s been a while since anything exciting happened with Google+? Despite the lengthy period without any updates and constant attacks by bloggers claiming that “Google+ is dying” it seems that the social network is running steadily along with it’s users now understanding what the Google+ culture is all about. Google’s new update should expand this culture further for those who are using the Google+ app on their phone as another Google product is integrated with the social network.
Google have teamed their product Google Places with Zagat to create Google+ Local, a simple and efficient way to share and discover local knowledge using reviews and maps. Let’s say I had just arrived in New York and stepped outside my hotel wanting to try a pizzeria, using Google+ Local and a quick search of “pizzeria” I am presented with all the pizza establishments close to my current location along with reviews for each one. Thankfully this service is not restricted to mobile devices and is accessible via the desktop version of Google+ here, useful if you are planning to visit a location and want to check out reviews on businesses before you get there as you can set a location of your choice when carrying out a search.
So where do these reviews come from? The short answer is you. The internet is now saturated with review websites allowing the public to see what others think of a product, service or place before trying it out for themselves; the amazing thing is that this has become an online culture and people are willing to leave reviews for free generally without incentives. This is where Zagat comes in, using previous reviews left on the website before this partnership Google+ Local already has a database to offer to it’s users without having to frantically encourage it’s members to start leaving their own reviews. A scale system 0f 0 to 3 is used across different categories depending on what type of business is being reviewed (Atmosphere in a restaurant for example) and then multiplied by 10 to gain averages when compared against many reviewers scores. Upon completion of the review you are also given the opportunity to share it on Google+ to circles of your choice, an excellent (or negative) promotional feature for the business in question. I am just curious to what has happened to the original Google Places 5 star reviews…
So after reading this I imagine a lot of you are quietly thinking, “Well this just sounds like a clone of Foursquare with an achievement system missing”. I am a loyal Google+ user but I would have to agree with you, I can’t see much difference apart from the fact that Google+ is a much larger medium to share information with and Google Places was already well established. I can’t see myself moving from Foursquare to Google+ Local due to the perk system offered by the former, perhaps Google will encourage their Google Places for Business users to start offering coupons or vouchers of some sort. Will you guys be using this new update?