Google+ Local Replaces Places Apps

Google+ Local has now replaced Google Places on both Android devices and the iPhone. This evening I updated the “Google Places” app on the iPhone and it became Google+ Local, including the new look and feel with Zagat ratings.

Below are some example screenshots. Though it’s similar to Places, overall the new app offers a better looking presentation of information. The Zagat scores are also an upgrade over the previous star ratings.

The Android version, which is integrated as a layer into Google Maps, is somewhat different with additional filters and advertising. There are no ads (yet) in the iPhone version of the app.

There were some strangely targeted ads in the Android app. I’m in Northern California (specifically Oakland) but the Facebook “Gateway Festival” ad (above) yields a landing page for Charleston, Mississippi. One might argue the Facebook ad targets out-of-state tourists. However multiple ads in Google+ Local offered  “geographically incorrect” landing pages like this.

Also present in Android but not the iPhone app: filter by Google+ Circles, as well as a solicitation to publish reviews into Google+. The app also has local recommendations, while the iPhone app does not. You also get OpenTable integration exclusively in the Android version.

Google has yet to integrate local search, Zagat scores and local business listings into the Google+ app itself — to make it consistent with Google+ on the PC. But overall, there’s more utility and a generally higher level of polish on these apps vs. the earlier Google Places experience.

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5 Responses to “Google+ Local Replaces Places Apps”

  1. Tilers says at

    Wow its going to get harder and harder to compete in the local space when Google and Apple completely control the hardware and now the software that everyone’s going to be using to find local businesses.

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    […] public offering price of $20 a share.Google+ Local Officially Replaces Places Apps in Mobile (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: “Google has yet to integrate local search, Zagat scores and local listings […]

  3. Greg Sterling says at

    I think that’s correct. There will either have to be more depth or some specific and  unique focus or a strong brand with trusted content. 

  4. Jeffrey Magner says at

    I’ve been wondering when this would happen. I updated tonite and I like how they give an explanation of their new rating system. But why wouldn’t Google inform me of these updates directly? Why do we need to learn about things from blogs? Isn’t that odd?

    And I like that I’m being encouraged to “rate” a business nearby, which ‘forces’ me to log into Google Plus. Still I’m confused by Google’s nomenclature for “reviews” and it’s getting worse by the month. I’m supposed to “sign in to ‘rate'”. But then I’m reading “reviews”. And then I can “write a review”. But I’m shown a “score” and a “scoring system”. Hmmm. I’m kinda confused.

    I would love a more universal adoption of “reviews” across all sites. It would make things more palatable & adoptable by users. Yelp is direct, consistent, and clear about “reviews”.  But it looks like things are not going that way. Have you seen the new Citysearch? What a disaster. “recommendations?” and a scoring system that I’m frightened to explore. I couldn’t close that tab fast enough. 

  5. Tilers says at

    Greg surely this move by Google has to absolutely terrify the good old Yellow Pages industry.

    The more I think about it, the more obvious that it is becoming that its going to be extremely hard (downright impossible) to compete in Local against the companies that own/run the actual hardware. Local advertising companies might think they have a chance if they create an “app” that sits on the iPhone or Android platform, but these individual apps have absolutely no chance of competing against a Local advertising platform where:

    1. It is integrated into the hardware/operating system.
    2. It is not opt in, everyone has it by default.
    3. It has as much (if not more) data than any Yellow Pages directory.
    4. It is able to keep that data extremely relevant by meshing it with the phone’s phone call records, check ins at locations, ratings at locations, etc.
    5. It knows where its users are at all times, and can display really relevant advertising (particularly with Google Glasses).

    Without owning the hardware surely Yellow Pages and other in the local scene can’t compete. Will this be the final nail in the coffin?

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    I agree that YP publishers need to get a lot more creative quickly and they’re up against a new, more challenging environment. But then so are small app developers that want to have a go at local. 

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