Google+ Local launches today

The search giant is rolling out the new Google+ feature to help people find restaurants around them, with recommendations from their friends.

Google+ Local
Google+ Local as it appears on an Android phone. Google

Google+ is homing in on wherever you are to help you find a place for dinner.

Debuting today is Google+ Local, a feature for the tech giant's social network that will be available both on mobile devices and from the desktop, according to Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for local, maps, and location services. Mayer was speaking on the CBS This Morning show. (Disclosure: CNET is part of CBS Interactive.)

Google's Marissa Mayer.
Google VP Marissa Mayer Stephen Shankland/CNET

The new service is designed to give people restaurant recommendations based on their location. Mayer gave the example of searching for "burgers in Seattle." The search results would turn up both formal listings and writeups -- Mayer put in a plug for Zagat's, the restaurant guide service now owned by Google -- as well as reviews and photos from friends in a user's Google+ Circles.

In fact, Google's announcement of Google+ Local basically boils down to two words: friends and Zagat.

The new service isn't limited to Google+, however. It's being surfaced across Google's search and maps, too.

Here's how you'll come across it, according to Google:

From the new "Local" tab on the left-hand side of Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood. If you click on a restaurant, or a museum (or whatever), you'll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know, and other useful information like address and opening hours.

Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day. If you're looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there too.

It's available first on Android devices, and will be "soon," Google said, on iOS devices such as the iPhone.

Business owners, meanwhile, can continue to manage their local listing information via Google Places for Business. Google added that it will soon be easier for businesses to manage their listings on Google and to take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages.

Here's what you'll see on Google Maps. Google

And there is more ahead. "Today is just the first step, and you'll see more updates in the coming months," according to Google.

Mayer -- who dodged CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose on the question: "Can you compete with Facebook?" -- compared mobile phones to the cursor on a computer screen: just as the cursor points to where you're working in a document, the little computer in your hand orients masses of data to your geographic spot.

"Your phone knows where you are," Mayer said. And what gets her excited about the future, the morning show's hosts asked. Her response: "This is an amazing local-mobile-social moment."

See the video below of Marissa Mayer on CBS This Morning, talking about Google+ Local, about how she got started at Google, and about the place of women in tech.

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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