Google+ Local, Not So Local

30th May 2012 by Jennie Stamp | News & Events

Today Google launched their new Google+ feature, Google+ Local, incorporating reviews from Zagat. Statement on the Official Google Blog:

“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+. Google+ Local helps people like my husband turn a craving—“Wow, I need brunch”—into an afternoon outing: “Perfect, there’s a dim sum place with great reviews just two blocks from here. Let’s go.” It’s integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+—creating one simple experience across Google.”


On first inspection this seems a very welcome and social replacement of Google Places Pages. However, on closer inspection, the cracks were soon made apparent.

In all fairness, Google have just started rolling it out, so the odd issue could be forgiven. The real problem was when I explored Zagat and was presented with this:

 

 

Apparently, these are the only cities in the United Kingdom with reviews on Zagat:

 

So, where are the following reviews on my Google+ Local for Edinburgh from?

 

The primary reviews displayed are Google reviews. Sources of other reviews include Urbanspoon, Qype, The Mobile Food Guide, TripAdvisor, Holiday Watchdog, Laterooms, Expedia and others.

On closer inspection of the reviews, the next issue seems to be the age of them. The top result for restaurants in Edinburgh was Howies, the most recent review was written 7 months ago. Reviews are based on trust, so how much validity does a year old review from an anonymous Google user hold?

Maybe they would have been better integrating with a more community focussed review site such as Yelp?

A comparison of a Google+ Local review with a Yelp review demonstrates the differences. On Yelp reviewers generally display their real names and faces and provide more in depth reviews.

 

What are your views on this latest Google+ feature?

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