5/30/2012 09:25:00 AM

Local - Now With a Dash of Zagat and a Sprinkle of Google+

Exciting news! Today marks the launch of Google+ Local. Check out the below letter from Avni Shah, Director of Product Management, to learn about this easy way to discover and share local information. Also, be sure to see what Tim and Nina Zagat have to say on our Google+ Page here.

Finding the best places to go is an essential part of our lives, as are the people and resources that help us make those decisions. In fact, the opinions of friends, family or other trusted sources are often the first we seek when looking for the perfect restaurant for date night or the cafe that makes the best latte ever.

Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+. Google+ Local helps people like my husband turn a craving—“Wow, I need brunch”—into an afternoon outing: “Perfect, there’s a dim sum place with great reviews just two blocks from here. Let’s go.” It’s integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+—creating one simple experience across Google.

Local information integrated across Google 
From the new “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood. If you click on a restaurant, or a museum (or whatever), you’ll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know, and other useful information like address and opening hours.

Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day. If you’re looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there too. You can also take it on the go with Google Maps for mobile on your Android device, and soon on iOS devices.

Better decisions with Zagat 
Since Zagat joined the Google family last fall, our teams have been working together to improve the way you find great local information. Zagat has offered high-quality reviews, based on user-written submissions and surveys, of tens of thousands of places for more than three decades. All of Zagat’s accurate scores and summaries are now highlighted on Google+ local pages.

Each place you see in Google+ Local will now be scored using Zagat’s 30-point scale, which tells you all about the various aspects of a place so you can make the best decisions. For example, a restaurant that has great food but not great decor might be 4 stars, but with Zagat you’d see a 26 in Food and an 8 in Decor, and know that it might not be the best place for date night.

Recommendations and reviews from people you know and trust
Your friends know what you like, and they probably like the same things you do. That’s why the opinions of people in your circles are front and center. If you search for [tacos] on Google+ Local, your results might include a friend’s rave review of the Baja-style taco stand in your neighborhood. Then, when you’re searching on Google or Google Maps for a great place to buy a gift for that same friend, your results might include a review from her about a boutique she shops at all the time.

You can also share your opinions and upload photos. These reviews and photos will help your friends when they’re checking out a place, and are also integrated into the aggregate score that other people see. The more you contribute, the more helpful Google+ Local will be for your friends, family and everyone else.

Whether it’s a block you’ve lived on for years or a city you’ve never been to before, we hope Google+ Local helps you discover new gems. Today is just the first step, and you’ll see more updates in the coming months. If you’re a business owner, you can continue to manage your local listing information via Google Places for Business. Soon we’ll make it even easier for business owners to manage their listings on Google and to take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages. Get more information on our Google and Your Business Blog.

Posted by Avni Shah, Director of Product Management


  1. The rating system seems a bit too impenetrable for a new user. Why not use a more simple like/dislike button for the different categories? https://plus.google.com/105923646894452230146/posts/hiixcGoguuZ

  2. I have no idea what "Google +" is.......

    1. It is like Facebook, twitter and blogger combined and improved.

    2. Corrected: "It is like Facebook, twitter and blogger combined and abuses your personal information"

      Create a fake GMail account (or three!), then link it to a faux persona (or three!) full of weird personal information. That way Google can't abuse your information and you can post honestly without having your real name plastered all over the Internet as to where you were, when you were there and what you had to say about the service at that place of business.

    3. Google is more open about what they do with your information than either FB or Twitter. I am a hardcore geek and trust G/G+ over FB anyday, their privacy policy is very simple.

      Here is what Zuckerberg supposedly said (he didn't deny it):

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

      Zuck: Just ask.

      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

      [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

      Zuck: People just submitted it.

      Zuck: I don't know why.

      Zuck: They "trust me"

      Zuck: Dumb fucks.

      Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/well-these-new-zuckerberg-ims-wont-help-facebooks-privacy-problems-2010-5#ixzz1wd3D6aj3

  3. Bad news with Google+ real names only. I don't ever want to share that info. I have problems because some else with the same name is constantly in trouble with debt, and I get his calls and emails. Often from unfriedly debt collection companies.

    1. Agreed. I just deleted my G+ account minutes ago and was looking for a place to tell Google to "shove it."

      There is no way in Hell that I will post reviews using my real name. I live in a small town, I am well known around this large metro area of 6M+, I don't want every fricking detail of my personal life spread out over the 'Net.

      Google has gone the way of Fakebook and is coming close to following RIM's management strategy of 13 steps lead down....

    2. I second, I work in the industry and many of the hotels/restaurants that I've reviewed are clients. I can't use my real name and wont be upgrading my review to G+. I guess this it is for me rating establishments.

      And no, I really don't feel like creating a new g+ profile just to do this.Just shows that there are ways around this and illustrate how forcing your real name just wont work out.

    3. If you won't post reviews using your real name then they would not be valuable anyways, to me at least. I trust reviews written by real people. If you don't want to say anything behind someones back, then don't. You can just focus on the nice things in your reviews, not all reviews have to be negative.

  4. Replies
    1. Visit https://plus.google.com/ to sign up :) I hope that helps...

    2. Do yourself a favor and don't feel the Google trolls.
      Google is abusing Google+ and its users.

      I was one of the very first Beta users, but just deleted my G+ account.

      Sign up under a fake GMail account, create a faux persona and load it with rotten information. Google then will use that info to sell to advertisers. When enough people do this, their value drops to zilch.

  5. "Zagat has offered high-quality reviews, based on user-written submissions and surveys, of tens of thousands of places for more than three decades."

    I can't stop smirking at this. Puns do not equal high-quality reviews. Zagat, please stop pretending that your reviews are profressional and stop insinuating that everyone's friends and family are going to write a review about an establishment.

    Thank God for the Michelin guide.

    1. Amen. And Google's hard stance on using real names is now a joke. Think I will post anything but glowing reviews?

    2. So does facebook and that never caught on.

  6. I just left a few reviews using the new integration and I must say it has stepped its game up. I am really digging where Google and Zagat are going with this!

  7. I used to review for San Francisco and London Zagat. The process involved keeping a list of all of the restaurants for a year - then in April we would begin the process of listing favorites in order of best to worst. This was repeated several times until just a few were at the top of the heap. A restaurant had to have at least 100 reviews before it was listed in the book.
    I am concerned that Google+ will be just one persons opinion, rather than the formula used by the original Zagat. I have found the original Zagat to be 99% right on. Not so sure about Google+.