Google Plus has announced some great new features this morning. There is now a Local Tab in the redesigned homepage of Google Plus. This will take you to an interface where you can see Zagat reviews for places, reviews from top Google users and reviews from other people inside and outside of your networks.
The old Google Places is going away. Users will have the opportunity to move their reviews and ratings over from Google Places to Google Plus Local as well, so you will not lose anything there. One thing to note, however, is that you will not be able to use a nickname if you did before. The display name will be tied to your Google account being used for Google Plus. Additionally, you can selectively hide any reviews that you do not want to be public on the new Google Plus local when you migrate them over.
You current ratings will be converted from the former 5 star Google Places review mechanism to the 1-3 Zagat rating system. Conversion will be as follows 1-2 star reviews = 1 on Zagat; 3-4 star reviews = 2 on Zagat and 5 star reviews = 3 on Zagat. The goal is to get a more accurate picture of who is good and who is great in any given space. The 1-3 ratings for users are tallied and multiplied by 10 and give the business its Zagat rating on a 30 point scale on a variety of facets with 30 being a perfect score.
Look for the new Google Plus mobile app update along with this release that will allow you to view local within your Google Plus app and have quick access to all of the pertinent business information quickly and easily. Sounds like Yelp might actually have a little bit of competition coming their way in the local businesses reviews space.
Check out Google Plus Local hereÂ https://plus.google.com/local