Google+ goes local – social merges with search and location

30 May 2012

Google has revealed a new feature called Google+ Local which blends social networking with search based on location.

The new service is integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and as a new tab in Google+.

The Local tab lets users search for specific places or browse restaurants, museums or anything else they fancy and they are taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores, summaries and reviews from people in your circles.

“Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day,” Anvi Shah, director of product management at Google+.

“If you’re looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there, too. You can also take it on the go with Google Maps for mobile on your Android device, and soon on iOS devices,” Shah said.

One of the key things Google is betting on here is harnessing social into local search and allowing people to make decisions based on recommendations and reviews of people they know and trust.

“Your friends know what you like, and they probably like the same things you do,” Shah explained in the official Google blog. “That’s why the opinions of people in your circles are front and centre.

“If you search for tacos on Google+ Local, your results might include a friend’s rave review of the Baja-style taco stand in your neighbourhood. And if you’re searching on Google or Google Maps for a great place to buy a gift for that same friend, your results might include a review from her about a boutique she shops at all the time.”

In what may also be a swipe at Pinterest, users can also share opinions and upload photos. The idea is the more you contribute the more helpful Google+ will be for your friends and family.

One question, what does this mean for Google Places?

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years