It’s all the buzz today that Google Places is being replaced with Google+ pages. To quote Greg Sterling in his article on Search Engine Land, “As of this morning, roughly 80 million Google Place pages have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages.” This is a very important change to local search as it unites users and businesses under one roof, allows for more personalized results based on your followers/circles, and allows businesses to connect directly with customers at store by store basis. What Changes: 1. Google+ Pages replaces Google Place pages 2. New local tab w/in Google+ 3. Zagat review integration 4. Google+ Local pages shared across Google properties 5. Filter results by circles The Impact: Getting used to the new interface won’t be the issue. Frankly the look and feel is better, images are more front and center and it’s just cleaner. Adding and managing your data won’t be the issue, as you can still manage your listings via Google Places. The challenge we see for many of our clients is that this forces them to delve more deeply into the world of social. It will also create more questions and rules of engagement for franchises and managers of local outlet or campuses. You will likely need some work to enhance or cleanup your merged/transferred listings. We are looking at this as more of an opportunity to fully take advantage of the perks offered by Google+ – more integration to search results, personalized results, photo and video sharing and don’t be too scared….the HANGOUT.