Look for New Scoring on Google+ Local

On May 30th 2012, Google announced that they were rolling out Google + Local with Zagat reviews. They have since been working on changing over all the Google Places pages into Google + Local.

They look different. They are integrated with Google + with access to Google+'s features on the left sidebar, and, they have a scoring system.

Scoring for the business.

Scoring for the reviewers.

For the business, the scale is from 0 – 30, with 26 – 30 being “Extraordinary to Perfection”; Zagat uses a 0 – 30 system.

For the reviewers, “Individual users”, scores go from 0 – 3, with 3 being “Excellent”.

Martin Brossman and I have worked closely with Raleigh area caterer, Catering by Design since 2009, through Carolina Web Consultants, and so I took a look this morning at what his scores looked like.

Here you see an overall score of “27” for the business, and we've clicked on the “?” in the gray circle to see the pop-up Scoring Guide.

The Zagat Score can show a variety of dimensions, but they weren't available here.

Below the Overall Score, you see a review by Martin showing up because he is in my circles, and below that, the reviews, his showing first because he is the only reviewer in my circle.

Currently there are 14 Google reviews for Catering by Design, and you'll see that Martin Brossman's “individual user score” is “3” or Excellent.

We've always known that we could click on individual reviewers and see what other reviews they'd given if we wanted to see how much weight we could put in their review. Now, Google is actually giving reviewers a grade.

Next, take a look at this next screenshot.

A year or more ago, a short an unusual negative review was posted. When it was discovered it created some concern. We clicked on their “user name” and saw many dozens of negative reviews, including a few positive ones, but mostly negative, for all different kinds of businesses. While we felt confident this was not a legitimate customer, others might not know that. Today, this reviewer has a “0” associated with their name.
Whereas previously this reviewer had a username we could click on to see their history, today we can't access any of that.

I did also notice that my own review showed me as a shadow named “A Google User” even though I was logged in. I'll be watching to see if that changes over time.

It looks like Catering by Design's Google Places page was automatically converted to Google + Local, but I found a help page on Google about how to convert from Google Places to Google + Local,:

“If you used Google Places before, you can move your old content into Google+ Local. When you first write reviews or upload photos in Google+ Local, we’ll ask what you want to do with your old reviews and photos. You’ll have two options:

    • Move all of your content and attribute it to your Google+ name
    • Keep all or some of your content private”

Change is the constant on the Internet, and will continue to be. It sure keeps us on our toes, learning what we have to do next in response to each change. For now, it looks like if you're a local business, you'll need to be on Google +, as yourself (the owner or manager), and you'll have a chance to fill out and build on your Google + Local site.

At least at initial glance it looks like we're going to have fewer opportunities to be anonymous, and more chance to benefit from the experiences of those who are in our Google circles, our friends and acquaintances. And, also, that mobile search, while on the go, will continue to get better and better. We can continue our high speed, on-the-go lifestyle.