By WAHEEDA HARRIS
Crowdsourcing is all the rage, and Google knows it. With its new “local” tab integrating Zagat reviews (Google acquired Zagat back in September 2011) and reviews from your friends—at least those in your Google+ circle—Google is focusing on the hometown. The local tab allows users on Google+ to see reviews of hotels, restaurants, cafés and local attractions online or on mobile devices. The tab can also be used in Google search and Google Maps.
Click to see what your circles are saying about a place, check out Zagat reviews or see the comments of top reviewers sourced from Google+ participants. Each description includes a listing of the place’s details (opening hours, address, contact info), a map and an easy way to add your two cents.
This is the first time users will have access to Zagat reviews for free. Before Google bought Zagat, the restaurant reviewer was charging fees ($25/year or $5/month) for access to its reviews.
Although search engines such as Yahoo!, MSN, Bing and AOL have integrated user reviews and opinions, Google has the added benefits of a respected review company (Zagat) and its crowdsourcing Google+ tool created to go head to head with Facebook and Twitter. With Google+ predicting 400 million users by the end of 2012, it’s a good bet that many of us will be clicking that local tab soon.