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Google+ Local update makes it easier to post reviews

New rating system will contribute to scores for venues on Google+ Local searches. Plus, the reviews are social.

The new reviews interface on Google+.
The new reviews interface on Google+.

Google+ is thought of most commonly as a social network, but it's also key to Google's efforts in local search.

In May, Google+ Local replaced the old Google Places pages. Searches for venues on Google Maps and inside Google+ bring up results bolstered by ratings from Zagat, which Google bought last year. The company also enabled to add reviews of their own.

But starting today, the reviews process is getting an overhaul.

Google's Megan Stevenson described the new process in a post on Google+.

"If you want to rate the food at a restaurant, or the quality of a mechanic, just choose 'poor - fair,' 'good,' 'very good,' or 'excellent'. Behind the scenes, we'll convert your ratings into numbers and factor them into the business' precise 30-point score that shows up in Google+, Search and Maps."

The new interface is sleek, quick and intuitive, offering users every encouragement to dash off a quick review of places they have been. And Google+ makes the reviews social -- any time you browse to a venue your friends have visited, their reviews will show up on the venue page.

It's a small change, but also one that illustrates the broader vision behind Google+ -- as a layer that links all Google products together.

(Via TechCrunch.)