Places Link Removed From Google More Menu

Update from Darren Shaw of Whitespark: You can still access Places through a URL parameter: “tbm=plcs”. Not sure how long that will last though. For example:
https://www.google.com/search?q=chicago%20pizza&tbm=plcs&near=chicago

This came to me from Andy Kuiper of Calgary and Vancouver: the Places search menu option has been removed from Google.

Google has been cleaning up and removing links from Google search and attempting to rebrand Places as a part of Google Plus. Last week they removed the related search option from the search menu.  While Places has been retained as a brand on the business listing side, the branding of the consumer side is still not clear and Places has not really been replaced with any clear forward facing consumer branding.

Google has been discouraging the use of Google+ Local (coined by Marissa Mayer) and is attempting to shift the name of the business pages to simply G+ Pages (although there still is a dizzying array of page types). But the net result is that for the first time in many years there is no local search option available from the front page of Google other than the main search box. Users can only make it to Google’s local search options if they are in Plus. Equally significant is that there is no unique locally focused brand.

pizza-Google-Search

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Places Link Removed From Google More Menu”

  1. Well that stinks!

    It was reported at my forum a few days ago that the “more results” link that USED to be under the pack was gone. That link used to take you to Places search – which was the most obvious way for consumers to get to page 2 of the results.

    With that gone, the only way to get beyond the 7 pack was to know enough to click the Place seach option, which I doubt many consumers even ever noticed.

    But now that Places search is gone – how do surfers and potential customers get to the other results? The answer I guess is that you need to pay to be on page one or customers won’t be able to find you???

  2. @Linda

    It does suck… at least for now the only choices are Maps and + and neither is an ideal local experience.

    I assume though it means that not many searchers went to Places search let alone page 2 of Places search.

  3. @Janelle
    It might just now be rolling out or it could be a bug… my bet is on the former. On my Mac I don’t have it on Chrome, FF or Safari… what browser/platform are you using?

  4. Must just be rolling out. Because like I said a few days ago the more link that lead to Places Search went away.

    Plus I noticed last Thursday when we 1st started discussing the changes, that the link ABOVE the old pack style listing to more results that used to go to Places Search, went to map search instead. Example: https://www.google.com/search?q=poway+sedation+dentistry&oq=poway+sedation+dentistry

    If I remember right the ranking order in Places Search was sometimes different than Maps search, so I used Places Search a lot for competitive research.

    I bet this is going to put a wrench in some of the local ranking software too.

  5. I can confirm that in Washington, I am still seeing the Places search option (using Incognito mode on Chrome on Mac).

    I also get that option in Safari. I sure hope they don’t remove it.

  6. @Linda

    The reason for the ranking differences between Maps and Places search were two fold. One was that the “viewport” ie the Map area was different between the two. Google local results are always ranked within a given view of the map. The second reason was that Places search would use “blended” results that included some web ranking factors in addition to the more purely local factors in maps.

    @Adam
    Please keep us posted. I am not seeing it on any browser work or home…

  7. Yep Mike, that’s why I liked researching Places search in part, because it was using the blended algo.

    But Mark from Places Scout just posted at my forum how to get the Places Search link to be able to paginate back in the results for comparison and analysis, so that’s good. BUT he also just posted that while he was just seeing the Places search link an hour later it was missing on all the data centers and he’s pretty sure it’s gone everywhere now, even internationally.

  8. It looks like Google is on a change spree. Shutting down a few of its popular services, giving notices for a few which are about to shut, and integrating cross platform services. I dont know what these devils are really cooking.

  9. I can confirm that in California, the Places option is now gone. I guess businesses have to rank in the 7-pack or count on searchers to use Maps!

  10. Some days it just doesn’t pay to get up in the morning. Places was alive and (pretty) well yesterday. Sure enough, this AM it is gone :(

    I’m flying over the forums but not seeing anything from Jade or Vanessa Jean on what is and what is to be.

    Does anyone have any kind of road map from this point?

  11. It’s has been removed in Washington as of this morning as well.

    As a workaround, you can install the iOS Google app (not tried it on Chrome or G+ for iOS yet), and you can select “Places” from the drop down. My results there match those (identically) to the web SERP.

    I’m curious to see how the G+ app and others on our phones will allow us to interface as sort of a workaround to this.

  12. User expeience is seriously compromised since places (G+) listings now show no description other than # of reviews.
    SAB’s are still being punished by Google because they’ve been told to hide their address and not to merge. I’m more than a little concerned about how much longer we’ll be able to rank in maps with a hidden address.

    In the land of Google are verticals like applications, patents, recipes, flights, and discussions more useful than local?

  13. Mike, What do you make of your comment, “Equally significant is that there is no unique locally focused brand.”? I mean surely this is breaking all sorts of logical Business 101 rules if their intent is to maximize SMB interaction and potential future revenue. But they’ve been consistently breaking these rules for years. Do you suppose that some sort of more focused re-brand or roll-out-of-something is pending and this is all thought out – or is it just the Wild West over there? Honestly I’ve been perplexed by the fact that “Places” links and mentions have stuck around this long. Wasn’t this “transition” happening last summer? My God, last summer feels like 2006 in Local.

  14. @Scott
    It certainly seems related…. Places nearby was the obvious way to get into more local results…. Now there is no way to show them if you want more than 7.

    @Darren
    Thanks!

    @Jim
    No roadmap yet. I have asked Google but have heard nothing… perhaps a big rebranding is in the works… who knows..

    @Adam
    I am sure that you saw Darren’s search parameter as well?

    @Chris
    I agree the user should, somehow, have the opportunity to see more local results if the first 7 are not what they are looking for.

    @Jeffrey
    Yes… it is all rather confusing… I do assume that there is a rebranding coming and this is in preparation but it could just be Wild West… that would not be out of character.

  15. I have noticed that under the “7 Pack” it used to say “more” or “see more” but that has been removed. And wasn’t the “Places” where it now says “maps”?
    Lots of changes. Making those 7 slots a lot more lucrative.

  16. They’re too busy making driverless cars and sunglasses to focus on local search. What a boondoggle. It seems like they’re going backwards. But whatever…it’s just a multi billion dollar business in the balance. Bing could possibly make serious hay here, but they won’t! But they could. Google is over thinking this. Just have a local search tab that is linked to general search and maniacally focus on making their local search the absolute best on the planet – clean, super useful results. If Google+ can be a part of that, neat. But it shouldn’t be their PRIMARY focus to the exclusion of the above mentioned. They should focus on hard core fundamentals. Jim in local is too busy trying to hop scotch his way into the sunglass department to care about this. Billy Ray wants to work on the next car phone module. And robots. Mars landing team. Local must be like ‘bench’ at Google.

  17. @jamie

    Talk about hopsctching – I read your comment via email and had to hustle over here to say hear – hear. you are spot on – and a riot too.

  18. I have checked it now in India, Google Places no more existing in More. Thanks for this excellent write-up Mike. So, if our Business is listed in Google+ page, does it not required to be listed in Google Places ?

  19. I have found recently while trying to manually claim a new places page over the phone that the Google Local team (in charge of places) has no control over what the Google Plus team does. At least this is what they had told me over the phone.

    Despite my repeated attempts to contact the Plus team (they don’t have a direct line), the changes I have requested have not been approved for my Local+ page. I find myself thinking, “what gives?”

    After all, if they are going to rebrand Places under the Plus umbrella, they should really just combine those departments for better efficiency so no one gets stuck in limbo.

    Anyone feel my pain?

  20. Please tell google to add places back to the site. This is a (well was) great feature and all of my friends miss using this and have considered nt using google because of this.

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