Well what really happened is Google places is now transitioned to Google Plus Local Pages. We all knew this would happen in a matter of time but some might question why the change. In some ways speculators believe the whole intention for the move was to beef up the google plus features and create more engagement on the new social media platforms. Other speculations even include a strategy to ensure Google plus becomes relevant in the social media wars with Facebook.
Some of the new features are indicated as follows:
- Business profiles can not have a local tab on their google plus profile with the location of the business.
- Google place has been replaced with local pages
- The utilization of the recently acquired zagat reviews for locations and free archiving
- Cross pollination of google plus across other google apps and features such as maps and mobile
- Filtering recommendations from google circles
- Interactive google plus pages
- Google local search just got more social and engaging
- A smart review system for Zagat reviews
- Enhance the consumer experience
- Richer pages with dynamic content
- Mobile Friendly
- Local pages will now be indexed
Google’s small business blog recently mentioned that there will be more merchant features and updates in the near future and were quoted as saying
“We know many of you have already created a Google+ Page for your business, and have been hosting hangouts and sharing photos, videos and posts. We’re excited that we’ll soon extend these social experiences to more Google+ Local pages in the weeks and months ahead.”
I strongly believe Google is focusing on more richer local pages to promote the customer experience. Business establishments like restaurants for example will be able to customize to make their pages more interactive. This move in my opinion was based to take on Facebook fan pages head on. Some people still do not believe there is a social media cold war between face book and google! I do!
The next factor which is a game changer is how local pages will now be indexed. This is an important factor and benefit for local businesses to take Google plus seriously. You cannot afford to ignore google plus in the future as I predict more benefits for user and business in the near future.
The social media cold war between facebook and google has just begun!