Google Shoehorns Critic Reviews into Desktop Local Search Results

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Google’s hustled on this one.  Less than a week ago, reviews from “critics” started appearing in the local search results on mobile devices.  Now they’re showing up in desktop search results, too.

Right now, “Critic” reviews only show up for restaurants and the like.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it remains that way, but I could imagine Google doing the same for hotels.

This latest tweak is a number of things: a bite out of Yelp’s pie, possibly a sign that Google knows it’s got quality-control issues with Google reviews, and definitely a test to see whether users click on and read and trust “critic” reviews more than those written by the unwashed masses.

Of course, it’s all part of an effort to jack up AdWords use in one way or another – whether or not anyone outside of Mountain View knows yet exactly how.

One thing that puzzles me about this update (or swiftly rolled-out test) is it’s not clear how Google might extend “critic” reviews to showing up in the local search results for industries where business owners really lay down the Benjamins for AdWords – legal, medical, home-improvement, realty, insurance, etc.  Most restaurateurs aren’t big on PPC.

What do you make of “critic” reviews?

Are you seeing them in any non-dining search results?

Leave a comment!


  1. I’m thinking this is a test, as it doesn’t appear to be rolled out globally. Not finding in UK or AU.
    I’m a bit lukewarm on the idea of critic reviews – but totally agree something needs to be done about the quality of the reviews. This feels a bit like an attempt at a shortcut.
    Interesting too that it bumps out “common man” reviews All you can see by default is the star rating and the number of reviews. On mobile I have to scroll to the bottom to see those reviews, at least on desktop I can click at the top of the listing. Would love to see the stats of people on mobile that actually flick all the way down to look at common man reviews.
    …That KG is getting monstrously long.

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