Now that Google Hotpot is available, Google share some details on how the Google ratings and reviews system works and reminds about some of the features launched over the last couple of months.
- On Place page of a business, "Reviews from around the web" section shows results from the most relevant review sites from across the Web.
In "Reviews from Google users" section you can read additional reviews that people have posted directly. And of course, you can rate the place and write your own review to share your opinions with your friends and other users.
And now with Hotpot, some Place pages may also include a section "Recommended because," which shows what friends you've added in Hotpot think about various places through their star ratings and reviews.
Also with Hotpot, if you're signed in, Google will use ratings and reviews from you and your friends to show personalized recommendations in Google search results. These opinions from the people you trust will also be available when searching on Maps and Maps for Android.
- How we handle reviews: "We want people to see ratings, reviews and recommendations that're relevant, helpful, and trustworthy. Unfortunately not all reviews and ratings are entirely honest or legitimate. So to protect both business owners and customers from fake or malicious reviews, we've systems in place that may remove individual reviews from appearing in products. Our review posting guidelines offer tips for writing thoughtful reviews and provide reasons why reviews are sometimes removed.
Sometimes our algorithms to combat abuse may flag and remove legitimate reviews by mistake. So we work hard to minimize these instances in effort to provide authentic and useful reviews," explains Google.
- If you believe a review in "Reviews by Google users" violates guidelines, you can use "Flag as inappropriate" link next to review to report it. However, it's important to remember that reviews are a forum for users to share both positive and negative opinions. Google don't arbitrate disputes and more often than not, and leave the review up.
If you received a review you don't agree with, you can publicly respond on your Place page using business owner responses to reconcile the situation. Also provided suggestions on how to engage with customers online to address their concerns and potentially turn an initially negative experience into a positive one.