Part of Google's renewed effort across all Google products to make the user experience more focused, elastic and effortless. The comapny today, simplified Google Places pages across desktop and mobile devices as well, announced Google Places product manager Avni Shah.
Google Places now looks cleaner with a much bigger emphasis on user reviews and photos including written by Google users themselves. This should be a welcome change to third-party sources of reviews like Yelp and TripAdviser who have long complained that Google was building Google Places on the backs of their content while at the same time trying to replace them.
Now Google Places no longer shows those reviews on Places pages for a specific venue, nor does it count them in the total number of reviews which it shows for each place. "Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we've heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that've been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we're continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe," stated Shah. For instance, the Google Places page for Paxti's Chicago Pizza in San Francisco went from 1,110 reviews to 171 reviews after the non-Google reviews were stripped out.
"Some of the changes you'll notice today have been made so you can quickly get a sense for what other people are saying about a place, more easily upload photos of places you've been (by using a more obvious "Upload a photo" button), and see reviews in a single section on the page. Since the introduction of Google Places' local rating and review feature last fall -- originally called Hotpot -- we've heard loud and clear that reviews help you find the places that are right for you, especially when you're able to get recommendations based on your tastes and those of your friends. So we've added the call-to-action "Write a review" button to the top of the Place page to encourage you to tell us what you think about places you've visited, while at the same time ensuring that you get personalized recommendations in return when you're signed in to your Google account," informs Shah.Google had earlier launched the improvement to the look and feel across its other Products sites like: Google.com homepage, Gmail, Maps, Search results pages, Translate, Calendar, Blogger, and Google News.
Beyond today's transition, Shah also shared companies long-term vision for local search includes:
- Bringing you more personalized results when you search for local places -- because we understand that information from the people you know is most meaningful;
- Integrating some of the great information that's been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms;
- Giving you more ways to rate, discover and share places you love faster and easier than ever, wherever you are, and on whichever device you choose.
[Source: Lat Long blog]