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.