Changes To Google Places
Google introduced their Google Places in September 2009.
It was free to all local businesses. All any local business had to do was claim the listing. To date many still have not done this.
When claimed almost everyone was guaranteed page 1 listing on Google search.
Google did extract information from other sources on the internet and made up a Google Places Page for many local businesses but when Google got information in this way it was sometimes wrong and it was up to each business to claim their listing and correct it.
One of the features of Google Places was the facility for customers and clients to leave reviews of their experience in dealing with that business.
This generated an Online Reputation for that business which when positive would automatically attract new customers
Changes to Google Places that are now happening
Google Places have now merged with Google Plus to form Google Plus Local Pages.
Google Places still seems to appear as normal but when you click on any listing you will find that it has been moved to Google Plus Local Pages.
The reviews that had appeared on the Google Places have been moved across to Google Plus Local Pages. The author of the review has been listed simply as Google User. It is now up to the person who left that review to claim it.
Google wants everyone to join Google Plus
Google is attempting to get every user of the internet to open a Google Plus account.
You must now have a Google Plus account before you are able to leave a review of claim one that has already been left.
The previous rating score for reviews which was based on a star rating system has been replaced by Zagat rating system. This gives different scores for various areas of client experience and ends up giving a rating out of 30.
This is a system that has previously been extensively used in rating restaurants.
Google bought the company so that they could use the rating system.
So effectively Google has now integrated Google Places, Search,Maps and Mobile into Google Plus Local Pages.
This will cause a lot of confusion at first but in the long term it will be much better for both customers and business.
At least that is what Google is predicting.
If all this is confusing to you and you need help sorting out how to manage the changes for your business
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