Google Places pages have been entirely replaced by new Google+ Local pages (Also replaced since then-link no longer works). As of this morning roughly 80 million Google Place pages worldwide have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages, according to Google’s Marissa Mayer. It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners.
Google Places is gone, replaced by a new feature that combines its Google Plus social site and renowned restaurant reviewers Zagat.
Announced Wednesday, Google Plus Local is the latest push by Google to incorporate its networking site into more of its other products, with the goal of creating a single, seamless Web experience. Launched in 2011, Google Plus initially generated much optimism as a social network threatening to take a bite out of industry leader Facebook (FB). Once broad-scale access to Plus was introduced, usage statistics failed to keep pace with pre-launch hype. For the past few years, social, local, and mobile have been areas of intense interest among technology companies and venture capital investors. Google has become a mobile powerhouse, thanks to Android, and has invested heavily in location data through Google Maps and related services such as Google Places. Google hasn’t done as well with social data, at least compared to Facebook. And that explains its crusade to make Google+ inescapable across its services. By wedding Google+ to services that people actually want to use, Google hopes to make its social network more vibrant and vital.
Now when users click on select locations within a Google map or search results page, they’re directed to that location’s Google+ page, not the Google Places page they would have previously encountered. Not all locations have yet been migrated to the new format, but roughly 80 million have been converted so far.
For Google+ users, Google+ Local takes the form of a new tab, which when clicked yields a page of recommended places within a user’s location as denoted in their Google+ profile. Recommendations are organized in categories such as sushi places or bakeries, but users can also search within Google+ Local for a specific restaurant or restaurant type (like say a diner), or filter listings by those recommended or reviewed by people in their Google+ circles. Google is also rolling out Google+ Local to its Maps app for Android devices with plans to do so soon for iOS devices.
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