In the recent past, Google has been aggressively upgrading with web services and applications to broaden the appeal to mobile users. Its focus has shifted considerably from its traditional services such as Gmail to more user-focused services. One application that has received a lot of attention is Google Places, which acts as a pocket guide for consumers based on general recommendations. In a bid to enhance this service, it recently bought Zagat, which combines local business information (address, contact information, reviews, and hours of operations) and integrates it to Google Maps.
However, Google is also making a strong effort to market more of its services and applications to mobile users. Apple and Android put together form almost 70% of the total market share for smartphones and they are popular platform for potential users of Google Places. Hence, it is exciting to note that Google has updated the Places app for the iPhone to 1.2.1. The new upgrade allows users to filter their search results based on distance, rating and price. In addition, they can also see the operating hours and read any relevant reviews of the dining places.
Analysts are keen to point out that this is not just a simple upgrade but highlights the evolutions of Places in the context of the Google eco-system. You can expect Google to integrate the system with Google offers to provide users with local deals from major US cities. Moreover, you can expect more options to filter the search results even based on the minutest details. Some even expect the service to be integrated with Google+, the company’s wildly popular social networking site that is currently competing with Facebook. If this is done, Google+ users will be able to share and recommend places to each other. Rest assured, Google Places is going is going to become part of something bigger.