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Google pulls third-party reviews from Places

Search giant ends practice of posting reviews snippets from other sites, which had complained they were not being compensated for the posts.

Google has stopped posting reviews snippets from third party-sites on its Places page.

The Web giant made the move late last week after months of complaints from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, which claimed their content was being republished without compensation.

"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, director of product management at Google, wrote in a Google blog post explaining the move. "Rating and review counts reflect only those that've been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the Web, we're continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe."

Google Places automatically aggregates information about businesses, including user ratings, published by third-party Web sites into a single Google-hosted Web page. Most of the information is already available on the Web, but Google's popularity and presence overshadows other listings and rating sites, in part because of links to the Internet giant's ubiquitous maps.

However, third-party sites have complained that Google's solution to their objections was a take-it-or-leave-it approach.

"We just don't get any value out of our reviews appearing on Google Places and haven't been given an option, other than to remove ourselves from search, how to improve this situation," Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in March.

The move comes a month after it was revealed that federal antitrust regulators were stepping up their review of Google's dominance of the Web search advertising business.