It has been coming for a while, Google was focussing on local elements a lot as well as Google+. Now the both are combined within Google+: Just now Google rolled out Google+ Local. Google+ Local is what Marissa Mayer calls “a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+.” It does what it is expected to be doing: giving you local information and recommendations by your network. It suddenly got a lot more interesting to get local people connected to you on Google+. On the left hand side of your Google+ you will now find an extra tab called “local”. Going there means you get instant information about your surroundings. You will get a map, direct recommended places and an overview of places which might be of interest to you. Clicking on the links of one of those places will not take you to a Google Places Page, but to a Google+ Page of that specific place, which will have information similar to the Google Places page. Google uses Zagat scores for the reviews.
Not just Google+
As with all things connected to Google+ its not just about the social network part. Eric Schmidt stated before that Google+ will be the basis of everything and that shows again here. Google+ Places is integrated in other products as well: Maps as well as mobile.
This move is a big one. It again is a step towards total integration of Google+ in all Google products. There is no avoiding Google+ any more if you want to use any of the Google products out there. It is not clear yet whether or not these pages are going to replace to Google Places Pages, but integration seems just a matter of time, as well as integration with the Google+ business pages. This change just made Google+ instantly important for local businesses, if it wasn’t already… More on this on Searchengineland and Techmeme