Google is making further moves to draw users attention to information that has been gathered through Google rather than third parties. The most recent change in Place Page layout is the most striking example of this.
The Google Lat Long blog tells us
Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe.
Essentially this gives Yelp and Trip Advisor their wish even though I will wager that they wish they never wished it. Now, the focus is on Google and the reviews generated. As you can see from the screenshot below, it’s never been easier to review a place or to upload a photo.
There appears to be a few changes with regard to the information that is displayed though. For instance, in the Place Page above there used to be a section for more data which a company could add other sites like Facebook and Twitter. That is a step backwards in my opinion which reeks of paranoia from Google.
So the evolution of the Place Page continues but I am not convinced the latest version works as well. Google is circling the wagons (as they should) to help push everyone through the Google system which will eventually incorporate Google+ etc. Part of the fun before though was that the Place Page was a bit of a clearinghouse of data. Not anymore.
So is this progress or protectionism on the part of Google?