Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, May 30, 2012, 11:33 AM
Google+ Local Pages Swallows Up Google Places Search Engine Land

As it turns out, the Web wasn’t big enough for Google+ and Google+ Pages for business. Less than a year old, a new service named Google+ Local pages is swallowing Google Places whole.

“As of this morning, roughly 80 million Google Place pages worldwide have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages,” reports Search Engine Land, citing comments from Google exec Marissa Mayer.

“It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners,” SEL adds.

“Google added a social element to its local search today, with the launch of Google+ Local,” The Verge writes. “The new feature is largely an overhaul of Google's Places pages … It's reminiscent of Foursquare's Explore feature.”

For Google, The Next Web is calling the changes “one of its biggest multi-product overhauls in quite some time.”

Also as part of the overhaul, Google will begin giving away Zagat content.

“Since Google bought Zagat last September for a reported $125 million, the company hasn’t done much with Zagat’s local content,” paidContent notes. “That changes today with the rollout of Google+ Local, which incorporates Zagat scores and summaries into its listings, replacing Google Places -- and makes all Zagat content free.”

In fact, “Google announced Wednesday that it is planning to make Zagat … the centerpiece of a new free service, Google Plus Local,” reports The New York Times.

“The new service isn't limited to Google+, however,” CNet points out. “It's being surfaced across Google's search and maps offerings, too.”

“Business owners … can continue to manage their local listing information via Google Places for Business, and Google says it will soon make it easier for them to manage their listings on Google and to take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages,” CNet adds.

 

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  • Gavin O'Malley, May 30, 2012, 11:45 AM
  • Besides driving a few marketers to the brink, what has Google achieved with its recent search changes? According to the tech giant, it is experiencing a noticeable increase in related activity. Indeed, people are “doing more searches as a result” of the revamp, a Google spokesman tells The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, citing internal data. In place of relevant search ads or content boxes with Google+ info, Google recently began showing searchers Web searches big boxes of information and photos related to their queries. “Early indications are that people are interacting with it more, learning about more things…and doing more [search] queries,” Amit Singhal, a top Google search executive, tells Digits. “It’s stoking people’s curiosity.” Among other sources, the new feature draws from data-rich sites like Wikipedia, along with music and movie catalogs that Google has previously licensed. “Perhaps more importantly, Singhal said that an increase in searches means there also will be an increase in visits to non-Google sites whose links appear in search results and in the new boxes of information that are appearing as part of the change.”       Read the whole story...
  • For years, people have wondered if and when Apple and Facebook would join forces. Now, Apple CEO Tim Cook is hinting that the company’s iOS mobile operating system could get Facebook integration in the not-too-distant future. Asked about a potential tie-up at AllThingsD’s D10 Conference, this week, Cook said that he thought the relationship between Facebook and Apple was “very solid,” adding that iOS users should “stay tuned on this one.” Asked about deal-breakers for each company, Cook said that Apple’s goal is to “provide customers simple and elegant ways to do the things they want to do,” and that, as such, he wanted customers to have the best possible experience when using Facebook on their iPhones or iPads. As WebProNews recalls: “When Apple unveiled iOS 5 last fall with Twitter integration, the big question on everyone’s mind was ‘Where’s Facebook?’ … Apple had reportedly been in talks to bring Facebook integration to iOS since before iOS 4, but nothing had ever come of it.”   Read the whole story...
  • Though a highly technical endeavor, achieving faster load times can do more for a Web site’s success than any creative or design element. As such, Twitter has reengineered its site so that tweets will load five times faster. “The overhaul will also prepare the microblogging service for the next generation of Web browsers by laying the ground for more interactive features,” The Telegraph reports. In fact, as Twitter engineer Dan Webb explains in a blog post: “This new framework will help us rapidly develop new Twitter features, take advantage of new browser technology, and ultimately provide the best experience to as many people as possible.” The changes will also do away with the so-called "hashbang" symbol in its page addresses. “The ‘#!’ symbol in Twitter URLs was used as to tell Web browsers to fetch and render tweets requested by the user, but now much of that work will be handled by Twitter’s own servers,” The Telegraph explains. The improvements were made after engineers investigated the “time to first tweet” that the Twitter Web site delivered. This statistic, based on a sample of users, measured how long between clicking on a link on Twitter.com and tweets appearing on-screen.   Read the whole story...