It seems we have seen the last of Google Places. As of May 30, Goggle+ Local has resulted in the replacement of Google Places. Approximately 80 million Google Place pages all over the world have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages.
Google+ Local, which is integrated with free Zagat reviews, offers users the ability to rate their favorite businesses via social media. Replacing the star rating of Google+ with the 30 point Zagat rating is believed to encourage users to participate more often with business owned Google+ pages.
With Google Places out of the picture, Google+ will inevitably gain more users that have been reluctant to begin using the Google social networking platform. “Google is hoping these new Google+ local pages will drive more users and businesses to begin using Google+ regularly,” says Justin Maas, Social Media Account Manager at an online marketing firm.
I think that the ability to rate businesses with Zagat will draw millions of Google+ users. While I believe that the Google+ and Zagat merger will cause immediate waves I wondering what Facebook has under its sleeve to beat out the competition. Perhaps the mighty Zuckerberg will call upon his army of techs and create a user friendly rating system that is less about liking and more about open opinion.