The old Google places is now being replaced by Google + Local Page. If you have an account with the old Google Places page, it will be merged or transferred to the Google + local Page. As of this writing, the old Google Places Page Dashboard still functions as the backend for business owners so if you login in to your Google places page, you may still see this.
When you hit the “view” button on the upper right hand corner, you will be redirected to the new Google+ Local Page. As a business owner, you can request that your old Google Places Page be merged with the new Google + Local Page. The functionality of the old Google places page such as Coupons still exist the only major change is the way reviews are now displayed in the search engines. If your reviews are being dropped, it is because Google is using the new Zagat review system. This system will be covered in the later part of articles I will be writing after this post.
I regard the Google + Page as your regular Facebook fan page. It has more robust features for engaging with your fans, friends or community in general. I find the Google + Page intriguing because you can do some cool marketing stuff with it such as having hangouts, creating events (this is a new feature and a boost for your Google + local Page). The difference between the Google + Page and the Google + Local Page is further explained by Venessa, an employee from Google.
A Google+ page has all the social features available to Google+ users —
Hangouts, sharing to circles, video uploads, etc. A Google+ Local Page is just a
new look to the old Google Places listing, minus the social features. Those social
features are coming soon…
Google knows it is not easy or fun to manage two listings so it is merging Google+ Local page with Google places page. Any Google places page formally created by you will be merged with your current Google + Local Page. Note that this may cause some malfunctioned issues such as missing reviews, citations and addresses.
Some Facts You should Know About from Venessa @ Google
A user who wishes to leave you a review must have a Google+ account. Yea, I know it sucks but Google wants more regularity and subscribers too. Of course this makes it difficult for the blackhat guys to spam reviews on your business pages. You will find some suggestions on how to handle this later in this report.
Your customers will also need a Google+ account to leave you a review as well. This
means no anonymous reviews
Real names are allowed. Nicknames are not allowed in places reviews
The feature, “Leave a Review Button” has been moved to Google+ Local Page. This means most features in the Google place listing is being migrated to the new Google+ local page
You will need to re-publish old reviews with user approval as Google wants to ensure nicknames and anonymous names are eliminated from its data
The new Zagat review button shows reviews in numbers. Google now hides full reviews on the search engines.
For multiple listings, bulk Upload was recently upgraded and is available in Google+ Local Page
Verification process for Google page listing has not changed. Verification will still be done via telephone or mail depending on your location in the world.
The Google + Local pages are indexed pages and are now showing up in the search results as a standalone result in addition to a pinned result. So in that sense they are a web page and not a search result.
There you have it. Some tips to hold on to while Google makes its huge transition from
Google Place to Google+ Local Page
As A recap:
These are the changes carried out by Google so far:
The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages (as mentioned above) for Google Places pages
There is now a “Local” tab within Google+ for easy access to Google + Local Page
The new integration and freely available Zagat reviews system
Google+ Local pages now integrate across all Google properties such as search results, Maps, mobile.
Circles filter integration to find reviews/recommendations from friends/family/colleagues. That is, your circle in Google + can leave reviews easily in your Google + Local Pages
Google + Local Pages is more dynamic and interacting than the former Google place pages which is static Places
Google’s star ratings are also being replaced by the Zagat 30-point rating scale (for user reviews as well).