Google Plus is back in the news for a new feature update on it’s social network Google Plus. As reported by Mashable, Google Plus has rolled out the new feature called “Local” that provides you with all the information that you require about a certain locality with reviews and recommendations from your friends. For example, if you are visiting a place and you would like to know what are the cool places to hang out, what are the entertainment sources, etc. then Google wants you to log into Google Plus and check out their new feature “Local”. The feature that was rolled out yesterday, is tapping information from Zagat (which Google acquired last year) along with the user’s network or “Circles”.
How does “Local” work?
Log into Google Plus and you would see an option called “Local” along with the other options such as Home, Profile, Pages, etc. If you are still not able to find it, Google has highlighted the “Local” and added a label called “New”. On Click, you should a similar page like the one shown below:
Google Plus Local
Local will recommend a list of options depending on several categories. For example, if you see the above screengrab, it recommends me places near Pune, Maharashtra since that is my default location. The page goes further down showing me restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, etc. The page also highlights a section, which has your reviews and the number of checkins that you have added. The places that have been listed have a snapshot of information and a score that rates them.
On click of the “view all” option associated to each category, you are taken to a screen as shown below:
Google Plus Local
So as you see, the above screengrab shows me a complete list of restaurants in Pune. I can change the location going to the search bar, which is provided on top of the page along with the search items that I am looking for.
If you go one step further and suppose you were interested in trying one of the listed restaurants then just click on the restaurant. You would be guided to a complete informative page of that particular restaurant. The page would look like this:
So as you can see the above screengrab is nothing but a review page where you would find reviews from different people with the required information about the specified restaurant.
How cool is “Local”?
Google has the power of search but now it wants to show you reviews from your “Circles” that is from your friends. Undoubtedly, it works if today I want to try out a new place or if i am looking for a new hotel my default choice is Google. And we tend to trust our friends more as they will give us unbiased view points, most of the times. So Google’s move of bringing Google Plus and integrating the power of it’s own search clubbed with the potential of Zagat is an appealing move.
Besides this the new move by Google will make it stronger in the location market on which it has never been firm. It tried doing with Dodgeball, Latitude, etc. but none worked. The move his time by Google makes more sense as it is integrating the social aspect too.
But will reviews from Zagat make sense for the Indian audience? Probably not but tying up with Indian businesses like Zomato or Burrp could do wonders. This will also remove lot of inappropriate information that has been tagged with lot of restaurants. For example, I have noticed that the places are not properly grouped and don’t have enough information or reviews about restaurants, cafes, etc. So such a tie up would make more sense for “Local” in India if Google is really interested in providing value.
For now Local could give an incentive to people in the US who have been trusting Yelp all the while, to be more active on Google Plus. But can it revive Google Plus’s fortune in India?