Wait a minute! What happened to Google Places? What’s this new tab in my Google+ toolbar? That new tab is the wonderful evolution of Google Places, and it’s called Google+ Local. Google+ Local has taken the incredibly useful Google Places directory that you registered your medical practice, health center, or plastic surgery campus, and added a great deal of wonderful to it. The unification of Google+ Local and Google+ means your doctor ratings are now incorporated in Google’s powerful Maps, Search, and mobile features that have been rolled into the new Google+ Local tab on your Google+ page. The new Google+ Local tab has a heavy focus on restaurants (Google purchased Zagat in 2011) and the Zagat rating system, but integrates business rating and reviews (in the 30 point Zagat format) from trusted individuals in your Google+ circles. So as a patient or client leaves a rating or review about their experience on your practices profile page their friends and family would have the option to toggle recommendations from them first before seeing comments and suggestions from strangers. There are also toggle options to show top Google+ Local reviewers, individuals who have similar habits as you, and a toggle tailored to your history.
The new Map, Search, mobile feature includes: Map and Search integration- When you open the Google+ Local tab you are shown recommendations in your neighborhood. Once you begin to search in the new Google+ Local tab, Google auto fills your location based on your Google+ profile and your IP address, then uses its powerful search algorithm and begins to auto-fill your search bar as you type. So, by typing just the letters “De”, Google begins to fill in the blank with dentist, followed by dermatology. Once you have selected your interest, your screen is divided into several parts. The two major sections that appear are the ranking/review/profile of the medical practice or busines on the left of the screen, and a map of where that practice or business is located. As you scroll from profile to profile the map view changes and focuses on the new businesses location.
Google is currently in the process of migrating Google Places profiles over to the new Google+ Local format. As of now you can still manage your Google Places profile in your current dashboard. If you would like Google to contact when your profile has been migrated to Google+ Local, you can fill out this form and Google will notify you when your new page is live.
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