Look at any business’s Google local listing. Notice anything…different?
That’s right. Google has returned to showing businesses’ average review ratings on a 5-star scale.
Didn’t happen a moment too soon. When Google Places became “Google+ Local” in May of 2012, businesses and customers everywhere were confused by Google’s annoying 30-point “Zagat” system of rating businesses.
We’ve known for a little while that Google was about to take the “Zagat” system out to the pasture.
As Mike Blumenthal first noted back in May, when the “new” Google Maps rolled out and you used it to navigate to a Google+ Local page, you’d see its average ratings on a 5-star scale.
What’s different is that now you can see the 5-point ratings outside of the “new” Google Maps. In other words, Google has finally rolled it out completely.
You don’t have to be logged into your Google account to see the average rating. If you’re the business owner, you don’t need to have an “upgraded” Google listing in order to have your stars show up.
It seems to have rolled out to countries other than the US, too.
Your average rating shows up on your page only if you have 5 or more reviews – same as before.
The only trouble is that, at least temporarily, Google’s reviews system will look a little disjointed. The 5 stars haven’t returned to every area where Google reviews are shown.
Even though the Zagat scale is no longer showing up when you search from the “Local” tab when logged in at plus.google.com…
…it’s still showing up in the “old” Google Maps and in the Google+ Local search results:
I’m sure Google will return the 5 stars to the search results soon enough. The fact that they’ve returned to the business pages themselves is a good sign, IMHO.
What do you think?
Doesn’t it feel at least a little bit like an epic return – like when Odysseus came home after 20 years?