Google+ Local Adds Where to Social's Who and What
In today's online sharing environment, we're all like Hansel and Gretel, dropping social breadcrumbs for others to follow, long after we've placed them. With Google+ Local, the online search giant wants to not only help us navigate down life's unknown paths, but also help us find the most delicious crumbs to drop for others to follow.
Plus Local is an integration of Maps, the still-new social network Plus, Photos and a comment-based system for finding your next favorite locale to hang with friends, shop at or eat in. And it's so much more...
To use Google+ Local, simply click on the new icon on the left-hand column of your Plus page. If you've not set up Plus yet, here's another reason.
You'll get a preloaded set of interesting places based on your current location, for starters. Of course, just as in life, you're not always stuck where you are.
You can use the two-box search form to perform a simple search of any city and choose any type of place you're interested in learning more about. I searched for Sushi restaurants in San Francisco (where I plan to spend a little time soon) and found a goodly number of places to sample when I go.
After choosing the first result, Tataki Sushi, I received a special Google+ page devoted to the restaurant, replete with an address and phone number. Google's integrated services came into full play immediately, as I was able to click and receive a map with directions by car, as well as a bus schedule. With a single click from there, I added the directions and map to my personal Google Maps collections.
Under the map on Tataki Sushi's Google+ page, I found a button for photos; unfortunately, the restaurant doesn't have any good ones there yet. Their Plus page, however, urged me to take a photo when I finally do visit, and add it to Tataki's page. Like Foursquare, this is an integrated check-in solution that tags my uploaded photos to the restaurant's information page, without me having to do so. It's much, much more than a check-in feature, however, because my newly uploaded photo breaks free from being found via a particular app, now stretching across the Google universe.
To the right of the map was a Google Street View image, along with the familiar little yellow man, beckoning me to take a 360 degree view of the front of the restaurant. What will be a bit of a mind-blower for many as Google Local gets populated by Plus users, was the option below this image, labeled See Inside.Continued on the next page