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Google Places Update Puts Focus On Google

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?

  • http://www.asouthernsoiree.com Megan Gillikin

    I love this new layout! Half the time google would count reviews from other sources, and half of the time I’d be wondering where all my reviews went. Hopefully they’ll be more consistent now.

  • http://www.elevatelocal.co.uk/ Dom Calisto

    Removing snippets for the moment might be a good thing. Snippets were inaccurate and misleading. Google would use unrelated sources for rating a company – reputation management became a nightmare if Places picked up a related competitors poor ratings.

  • http://www.vanhire-londonuk.com/ Van Hire London

    This seems to be very adventurous. I hope, this new feature will be more updated. All you have shared is very good. Thanks for this article.

  • http://www.trafficsmack.com setg

    I really think Google is alienating a lot of users here. Only reviews from Google users appear on Place pages? Place pages have not been around nearly as long as Yelp; and Yelp has very active local communities, as do TripAdvisor and other sites. In the end it won’t be those third party review sites that lose, it will be small businesses. It’s entirely possible that the omission of reviews from third party sites could easily slant the overall opinion of a business as either incredibly positive or negative, especially when there are many more reviews on those third party sites than on Google.

    For example there are 17 reviews from Google users for a restaurant in Scottsdale called Carlsbad Tavern. But there are tons more reviews on those other sites: yelp.com (139) – tripadvisor.com (29) – travel.yahoo.com (25) .

    What better serves potential customers of local businesses: only info from Google, or a more rounded view including information from a wide array of sources?

    It’s also interesting that they didn’t kill the photos from third party sites. Google is not the authority on everything!

  • http://www.screenpilot.com/blog/ Matt

    We spotted this yesterday http://www.screenpilot.com​/blog/2011/07/google-kills​-95-of-your-hotel-reviews-​what-does-it-mean-for-seo/​ . Have you guys got any ideas on how to push potential reviewers to google rather than others like tripadvisor? Or should we even bother?

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Frank Reed

      @Matt – That’s a good question. I am not sure how that could be pulled off. TripAdvisor may be more for the hard core traveler who is making a lot of recommendations where a Google review could be more “spur of the moment” and a pure reaction to something good or bad. Either way hotels will need to watch all of these closely.

      One nice thing about Google reviews is that you can respond to them inside Hotpot. Well, at least you used to be able to! Maybe I should check again!

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Neil

    How does that saying go… “he with the $$ makes the rules”? or in this scenario – he with the $$ AND the “approved” data flow – makes the rules AND gets to change them if / when they see fit. seems a bit heavy handed in some respects.

  • http://www.winlocal.de/ Alexander Kasten

    The google places redesign/clean up also marks kind of a fresh start for everybody. Businesses who previously might not have had any realistic chance to compete with, say, the top ranking hotel+city places pages can now gain lots of ground. Exciting for some, terrifying for others.

  • http://www.oynaoyunlari.net oynaoyunlari

    I love this new layout