For some time now, Google has personalized Places by prominently displaying reviews from people in your social circle (that Google knows about). I’ve written about my belief that this will be very important in the future, as more people review businesses – because nearly everyone will trust a review from a friend.
One problem, however, is that when you’re in a new city it’s very unlikely that anyone you know will have reviewed businesses there. To combat this, Google is starting to surface Places rated highly by people “who share your tastes.”
It looks like this:
This will only be useful if you’ve rated enough Places for Google to know what you like – but as Google’s review count continues to increase, more and more people will fit this description. It will also help makes ratings more personalized if few of your friends review businesses on Places.
For businesses, this is yet one more reason to encourage online reviews. The more people that rate your business, the more likely it will be that people similar to any given searcher have rated your company.
Google continues to race forward in local search – it’s always interesting to see what comes next.