On May 30th 2012, Google+ made a major announcement about the new local business listings. Google Places is getting replaced by Google+ Local listings. Google+ Local is now available as a new tab on Google+. This was also one of the fastest launch and almost 80 million of Google Place pages were converted to Google+ Local pages. From our research, there are still a bunch of Google Places available as of today, and these may be decommissioned soon. We have also noticed the simultaneous existence of both Google Places and Google+ Local for same businesses. Let's discuss the changes in detail. We encourage you to read the entire blog post because at the end we will provide action items for local businesses. It is important to get your new Google+ Local business listings updated to prevent traffic issues. #1 Google+ Local Pages replaces Google Places - We mentioned earlier, Google Places is going away for good and so is your existing Google Place page. Don't worry, Google will replace your Place page with a Google+ Local page if they have not already done this. If you do not have a Google+ account, then we highly encourage you to create a business account right away. Here are the Google Places listing for keyword "mexican restaurants in San Antonio". These old-fashioned listings were available at 1pm central May 31st 2012.
We performed the same search later in the day at 7 pm central and found the old Places listings have now been replaced with the Google+ Local listings. One key visible difference in this view is the availability of Zagat scores. The stars have now been replaced with Zagat scores in red.
#2 Local tab in Google+ - Interestingly, Google+ Local pages can be accessed through a local tab in Google+ and Google+ search as well allowing the user a seamless experience within Google+. You may remember, Google rocked the search world with Search Plus Your World integrating Google+ with Google.com. Google is doing it again by integrating local search with Google+ and other Google properties, including Google Maps and mobile apps.
#3 Google+ circle filter - Local search results on Google+ page can be filtered using Google+ circles. Depending on the circles you have you can view the recommendations/reviews from your family, friends and aquaintances.
#4 Extensive customization - The biggest advantage of Google+ Local over Place page is the availability of extra features. Place account page was pretty static with limitations on the type and quantity of content you can add. It also missed the social media interactivity and engagement with the brand. Local pages can be customized with tons of videos, photos, and updates. It's worth noting some of these features are exactly similar to Facebook's timeline. You can completely rebrand the Local page ...