Google Places is always changing, and today we saw a huge update. Google has launched Google + Local. You'll notice a new tab on the left hand navigation in your Google + account:
This is Google + Local, which appears to be in the process of replacing Google Places. It combines all of the information from your Google Place Page, along with reviews from Zagat (if appropriate).
In the G+ Local tab, you can start typing a category and then choose from the pre-selected options, or you can type your own search parameter, then type in a location. The default location is your local area:
When you select your own business from the listings, you will notice a Local icon with the Questions: Is this your business? and then Manage this Page:
At this time, if you're logged into Google, the link will go directly to your Places page. This may change in the future. I tend to think that all Local will be administered through Google +. This is yet another reason to make sure you have a G+ profile and a Page for your business.
Reviews have a new look as well:
Here is what Google has to say about its new Zagat review points system:
The red Review button has been removed from Place Pages as of today, and we expect that all reviews will now funnel through Google + Local.
From the Official Google blog:
"Today is just the first step, and you’ll see more updates in the coming months. If you’re a business owner, you can continue to manage your local listing information via Google Places for Business. Soon we’ll make it even easier for business owners to manage their listings on Google and to take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages."
We will be presenting a Free-for-All Webinar on Google Plus on June 28th. To register, click here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/777683704
I recommend that everyone take a look at the new interface and get familiar with it. This is the future of Google Local.