Google Places Changes to Google+ Local

This move has led to a few notable changes, the biggest being changes in user interface that have appeared during the move from Google Places to Google+ Local.

This move has led to a few notable changes, the biggest being changes in user interface that have appeared during the move from Google Places to Google+ Local.

What Google Place pages looked like before

The screen grab below is a random example of a Google Place page

As you can see above.... the page includes lots of useful information, however, the structure is questionable and not what we would call a user friendly interface.

What the new Google+ Local page looks like

The new Google+ Local pages are certainly an improvement on Google Places. The content is better structured and the interface is more user friendly. It's more engaging for users with a selection of images prominent at the top of the page. Users and businesses can also navigate to and from other Google+ services visible on the left hand side.

Gone is the gold star rating system and in is Zagat reviews. Reviews are now ranked out of a score of 30, and there are sub sections of the review process such as quality, facilities, services and other industry relevant categories.

Zagat reviews have a strong reputation and the new system may help Google rank businesses better than they did before. However, the jury is still out in regards to user experience. From a user perspective, there is no easier way to analyse a company's service and reputation than viewing a star rating system.

Below is an example of Zagat reviews in search results, not quite as eye catching as the previous gold star rating system.

The new Google+ Local pages are certainly an improvement on Google Places. The content is better structured and the interface is more user friendly. It's more engaging for users with a selection of images prominent at the top of the page. Users and businesses can also navigate to and from other Google+ services visible on the left hand side.

Gone is the gold star rating system and in is Zagat reviews. Reviews are now ranked out of a score of 30, and there are sub sections of the review process such as quality, facilities, services and other industry relevant categories.

Zagat reviews have a strong reputation and the new system may help Google rank businesses better than they did before. However, the jury is still out in regards to user experience. From a user perspective, there is no easier way to analyse a company's service and reputation than viewing a star rating system.

Below is an example of Zagat reviews in search results, not quite as eye catching as the previous gold star rating system.

From a user perspective the switch over is a big improvement on Google Places. However, there is still a lot of work to be done on Google's part. There are some niggling issues with the new listings. One example that demonstrates this is the fact that there is no way of knowing if a business has been verified or not, and there seems to be a number of duplicate listings...which while not a new issue, is one that still needs fixing.

From a business perspective the Google+ brand is starting to be a little confusing for regular business owners as they now have to deal with...

  • Google+
  • Google+ Business
  • Google+ Local

We know Google is working on merging accounts, but until this happens confusion will remain for small business owners who manage online marketing in-house.