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May 28, 2012

Your Contacts Affect Google Places

Google Cafes
Bernie Goldbach in Dublin | Screenshot from my current G+ Page

LIKE MANY PEOPLE on the streets of Dublin, I often use Google to check things like quiet coffee shops with free wifi. Today, I've spotted contacts of mine in the search results giving upvotes to different venues.

When I walk into many of my favourite haunts, I see front window space given over to "Find Us on Facebook" or "Check in with Foursquare". Both of those services charge less than half of what Google charges for an advertisement. Yet on my mobile phone, I get faster and often more comprehensive results with a straightforward Google search.

Things are a little different when using either the Google Plus or the Google Places app.

It's fair to say that these are early days for Places and Plus. Some of the phrases, comments or ratings used to describe Places make for stupid results on Google Plus. For example, both coffee roasters and coffee distributors appear under the "coffee" icon on Google Places and both appear in a straight search for "coffee" when using a local Google Plus search screen today. This suggests the Google search results algo is not in use with either the Google Plus app. However, the migration of the Places datasets have occurred and this will dramatically affect the front page results on a mobile phone screen when walking in a city.

For my part, I'm going to comment on freefi venues in Dublin and Limerick city centres because they deserve a thumbs-up in prominent text on Google more than a highly perishable happy tweet. And I'm going to rate food service when I visit the Places I've enjoyed for the past ten years instead of cluttering my twitterstream with gratuitous food porn. If you connect to me on G+ you'll see my cross-talk in the first screen of results when searching for some of the best places in Ireland.

I'm http://gplus.to/topgold on G+ and I have curated some links about Google.


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