Google "Places" drops outside customer reviews

CHICAGO Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:49pm EDT

Women walk past the logo of Google in front of its former headquarters, in Beijing June 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Women walk past the logo of Google in front of its former headquarters, in Beijing June 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Google Inc has removed excerpts of customer reviews from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor from Google Places, its competing online service aimed at helping consumers search for local businesses.

The move, announced in Google's official blog on Thursday, follows the disclosure of a U.S. antitrust investigation last month.

The federal probe concerns whether Google, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search engine advertising, abuses its market power by favoring its own services over those of rivals in online searches and through other practices.

The blog post made no mention of the investigation.

"Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we've heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages," Avni Shah, Google's director of product management, said in the blog post.

Google said it added a function for Google users to write their own reviews at the top of its Place web pages.

It said the search pages' rating and review counts would only include reviews written by Google users, although the company would continue to list links to other review sites.

Google's "Places" offerings of local ratings and reviews, originally called Hotpot, were introduced last fall.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen)

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Comments (1)
Nyagoslav wrote:
The title is a bit misleading. However, as mentioned in the article itself the reviews from third-party sources were not dropped, only their excerpts were removed. Furthermore, exactly TripAdvisor and Yelp had numerous disputes with Google over reviews during the last 1 year and they were constantly complaining about Google showing their reviews on its online property. I suppose now they are happy. The bad news is about the business owners themselves and it comes from the fact that there are many, who were focusing on reviews on websites like Yelp, Cityseach, Demand Force, Kudzu, and now they are not “counted” in the overall number of reviews on the respective business Place page. This makes big difference as the review count and rating snippets showing up at the right side of the business information on the organic search result page are one of the most important factors for the click through rate, which consequently is one of the most important factors for higher conversion rate per impression.

Jul 24, 2011 1:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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