May 30, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Google+ is slowly swallowing whole or integrating with the many services of Google. The latest hook comes in Google+ Local, a new feature that finds places to visit based on a user’s location, friends’ recommendation, and Zagat ratings.
Avni Shah, director of product management at Google, announced today that Google is making use of its Zagat acquisition by incorporating the 30-point scale to rate locations. Curating reviews sourced from professionals and users, Google+ Local rates food, decor, service, and cost for restaurants, helping users make an informed decision about the places they would like to visit.
As seen with Search Plus Your World, the web update that brings in Google+ postings on search results, Google+ Local also incorporates your friends’ activities into the search process. People in your circles who have recommended or rated a nearby location will be pushed to the top of the results. So someone searching Google Maps for Android for a nice Argentine Steakhouse will see plenty of reviews, but their friend who appreciates a good steak and liked one restaurant over another will get top billing.
Of course, it’s not limited to just restaurants. Google+ Local also supports bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums, malls, boutiques, and any other establishment with a rating. It’s probably not limited to Google Maps either. TheVerge reported last week that the recently-updated Google+ Android app contains a not yet activated “Local” tab, so don’t be surprised if an update appears shortly containing these features.
For now, keep your eye on the Google Play store for when Google Maps updates. You can also explore Google+ Local by clicking the desktop version of Google+.