Google launched Google+ Local this morning. Well, rock my world! I KNEW there was a major update coming due to all the problems being reported in the forum and felt pretty strongly it would be the 1st of many steps to integrate Google Places and Google+, but this is even a bigger change than I was anticipating.

Important to realize that as of right now the biggest changes are CONSUMER facing. The thrust of this announcement is for consumers – to make discovering, reviewing, rating and socially sharing local Places easier and more dynamic.

NEW UPDATES, ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY ADDED BELOW AS I FIND IT


For business owners not a lot has changed YET – big changes are coming! You still manage your listing from the Places dashboard, the look is changing and some features are different. The whole review piece has changed too. I’m not going to spend time analyzing and regurgitating it all right now. Just want to be sure you have the best direct sources of info to read for yourself.

First, read the Official Google Announcement.

But the most detailed and pertinent info for business owners regarding how this affects Place Pages is from Vanessa, below.

Google+ Local – Vanessa Schneider – Google and Your Business Forum

Wanted to give you guys a heads up on our launch today: Google+ Local. The big change is that we’ve given Google Places listings a whole new look. Beyond that, much is the same: You’ll still be able to manage your information via your Places dashboard, verifying basic listing data and responding to reviews. If you use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal, automatically redirecting people to the destination you selected or to the listing. Offers will continue to function as is too.

Some other changes I wanted to point out before you ask:  

  • Your verified Google Places listing will not display a checkmark on Google+ Local. Yes, we’re working on this.
  • You can no longer upload videos or use the Post to Place page feature.
  • We’ve adopted the Zagat scoring system (more on that here: http://goo.gl/JO7p1)
  • Reviews from Google and Zagat users will live on your local Google+ page and attributed to “A Google User” or “A Zagat user” until the user chooses to attribute their name with the review.

You also don’t have access to all the social features of Google+ — yet. Soon we’ll make it even easier for you guys to take full advantage of Google+’s social features and manage your listings on Google, especially for those of you who have already verified your Google Place pages. Look for updates on that in the coming months.

Read more over on the Small Business Blog: http://goo.gl/lhF6S
Or visit the Google+ Help Center for detailed info: http://goo.gl/lRjav

More changes coming soon for business owners
“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. We’re excited that we’ll soon extend these social experiences to more Google+ Local pages in the weeks and months ahead. To give you a sense of what’s coming, we’ve worked with a few business owners to fully upgrade their listings early and share their Google+ business identity across Search, Maps and Mobile.”

BEST LINKS FOR MORE INFO ABOUT Google+ LOCAL

Google Main Blog Announcement Here (Different version than the one above.)

Quick PDF guide to what’s new: http://goo.gl/p1dni

Google Places for Business Forum Discussion

Link to the Google+ Local Help Center

Google Places Pages Are No More – But What has Changed?
Mike Blumenthal always has great coverage and discussion so tune in there.

Google Places Is Over, Company Makes Google+ The Center Of Gravity For Local Search – Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land has the scoop and lots of good comments too.

Hang onto your seats! I predict a wild ride! More info soon.

NEW UPDATES, ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY ADDED BELOW AS I FIND IT

Rankings on Google+ Local: Some Observations

The Coolest +Local Feature No One’s Noticed?

Google+ Local Reviews

Google Updates Place Community Edit & Report a Problem Forms

Google +Local NAP Info Pulling From Mapmaker (not Places?)

Google+ Your Business Stream

MORE COMING SOON!