Google+ Adds New Local Listings Tab for Businesses
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."
Related: Chris Brogan on How Businesses Benefit from Google+ (Video)
Jason Fell is director of native content for Entrepreneur, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.