Google's fast-growing, if only still nascent, social network Google+ has rolled out a new tab dedicated to providing information on local businesses. Located on the right-hand side of the Google+ page, Google+ Local allows users to search for businesses that are nearby, read reviews and find them using Google Maps.
For instance, if you search for "cheeseburgers" on Google+ Local, it will generate a list of restaurants near your location that serve cheeseburgers. If you click on one of the listings, you'll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, reviews from people in your Google+ Circles and other information such as address and opening hours from the company's Google Places for Business listing.
For business owners, this means that a company's information on its Google Places for Business listing will now be available to users across Google search, maps, mobile and now Google+. It can be even more important now for business owners to verify their basic listing data, make updates, add photos and respond to customer reviews.
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Additionally, Google has integrated a business's Zagat score into its Google+ Local listings. Google purchased the popular business survey rating service last fall for more than $150 million.
"For example, a restaurant that has great food but not great decor might be 4 stars, but with Zagat you'd see a [score of] 26 in Food and an 8 in Decor, and know that it might not be the best place for date night," Google product management director Avni Shah wrote in a blog post announcing the Google+ Local launch.
The search giant also hinted that it will be further integrating Google+ business pages and Google+ Local listings.
"We know many of you have already created a Google+ Page for your business, and have been hosting hangouts and sharing photos, videos and posts," Jen Fitzpatrick, Google's vice president of engineering, wrote in a separate blog post. "We're excited that we'll soon extend these social experiences to more Google+ Local pages in the weeks and months ahead."
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