The New Google+ Local
As it typically goes with social media platforms, not many days go by without the platforms being updated. Shortly after its second Birthday (and after we wrote how awesome it was), Google Places was rolled into a new platform called Google+ Local. The reviews have been mixed, but we thought we’d share the great, the okay, and the ugly.
This time, we’re going to start with the ugly…
Where did all the content go? Do you remember filling out all of those details about what make your business special and unique in your Google Places profile? Well, although you can see it when you’re and administrator looking at your analytics page, to the average user, that content is not findable (or at least we haven’t figured it out yet).
We have also not loved that updates are not appearing in “real-time” so it’s difficult to know if the changes have actually been made. An example of this has been loading pictures. We have loaded pictures onto some of our clients’ business pages and although we can see them from the administrator’s page, it has taken up to four weeks for some of them to be visible to the public. (Anyone else had this problem?)
And what about the reviews? When the results were served from Google Places there was a photo of the person who left a review along with their name. That data did not move along with the switch. Now what you see is a blank image holder and “A Google User” in the area where the name should go.
Eh, this change is just okay…
We know they’re trying to be original, in the attempt to do so, Google took away their stars. Stars? The new rating system for reviewers is no longer the option of choosing up to five stars, but rather a rating system. Reviewers are asked to rate the place based on three categories: Quality, Appeal, and Service. Although we like the fact that the new scoring allows other users to better understand why a businesses was scored the way it was, some businesses are claiming that not having five stars is hurting their business.
What’s great about it?
It’s more social (just how we like it)! After all of the rollout hype, Google+ just wasn’t competing with Facebook before. Although Google owned the components to make a more Facebook-like platform before, the lack of integration made it less social and thus, less popular. Now that all of the components are connected, you can “+1” a place on Google+ Local (kind of like liking a business page on Facebok), create a “hangout” there, update a status, and create events (amongst other things).
Overall, we’ve found the changes to Google+ very positive and inviting. And we’ve been spending more time hanging out there. We’re excited to see what will be next to come. How about you?
Please leave a comment and let us know about your thoughts and experiences with Google+ Local.