Google has just announced that their service Google Places will now be available to users in the form of Google Plus Local.
Google Plus Local will be integrated with Zagat, their restaurant-rating service. In other words, when people choose to use Google Plus Local, they will be able to access the reviews on Zagat for free.
Google had bought over Zagat last year for $151 million. Apart from providing ratings for restaurants, Zagat also rates shopping, night life, hotels, resorts, spas and golf courses in about 100 countries around the world.
This is an effort by Google to improve their social networking site Google Plus, which currently has about 100 million users. However it is believed by analysts that Google Plus has failed to keep pace with expectations, and interactions on this social site are not as good as those on Facebook.
By integrating social with reviews Google hopes to be able to improve interactions and thus gain a better market share.
It has been estimated by experts that the local online advertising market is worth $140 billion and growing. In order to get a share of this, Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for local search and maps, says, “Getting local search right is important, and to do that you need great reviews,”
Hopefully this move will enable Google to achieve their target.