Google Places is Now Google+ Local

This is a quick, but important update for every local business’s digital marketing.

Google announced yesterday that they’re phasing out their “Google Places” local business directory in favor of “Google+ Local“.

Basically, local business locations will have their own Google+ page, incorporating the customer ratings, reviews, images, videos, and location & hours information.  This info, which used to be featured in a layout unique to “Google Places” is now wrapped into the same layout that all Google+ Business pages have – potentially a more consistent experience for users.

The implications are enormous for businesses, who must now play ball with Google+ one way or another.  And I’m not so sure how consistent the experience is going to be for users when they can’t distinguish between the corporate Google+ Business Page for a brand and the Google+ Local Page for one of their retail locations.

You can read more about the change on Google’s Small Business Blog.