Google Unveils New Local Social Product: Google+ Local
In late May, Google rolled out a new local service called Google+ Local which adds a social layer to local search and discovery. The service is now part of the larger Google+ experience and is accessible as a tab within the Google+ service:
The new “local” function within Google+ encourages users to review and check-in at local businesses while displaying reviews from Zagat (which Google acquired in September 2011) and other sources.
Google’s other local offering, Google Places, currently appears to be unaffected by the new Google+ Local service. It is possible, however, that the new local pages will eventually replace the Google Places pages.
One noticeable difference between Google+ Local pages and Google Places pages is the use of owner-verified content. With Google Places, business owners can claim their listings while Google verifies their ownership through phone confirmation, or via a snippet of code business owners install on their websites. Once a business is verified, business owners have more control of the listings, and can utilize offline offers, post status messages to customers, upload owner-verified photos, and more. Businesses with multiple locations can also upload and edit location information in bulk, which is not yet available for the new Google+ Local pages.
Although verification is not yet available with Google+ local pages, it could be something to expect down the line. Links on the new Google+ Local pages direct users to “manage this page”; however at this time the links point back to the older Google Places management interface. In addition, as of now the newer local pages do not seem to carry over any of the older owner-verified content.
Older Google Places Page Example:
New Google+ Local Page Example: