First Reports of 5-Stars Returning to the Main Search Results

Update: We now have screen shots of the 5 Star treatment in the new Local Carousel

The last bastion of Zagat has finally been breached and reports are showing up of 5 Stars returning to the main search results page in the Pack. Poster Valesence shared her sighting of the new display at the LocalSearchForum.

Google announced the return to the 5-Star system in mid-May at the I/O Conference, along with the rollout of the new Google Maps. Phil Rozek reported their return to the Google+ Pages for local last week. The stars have not yet been reported on the new Local Carousel. But they are obviously undergoing testing and while they are are not universally visible  it is only a matter of time before both the Pack and Carousel results both show 5-Stars.

Google replaced the yellow stars with the Zagat system in May, 2012 when Google rolled Places pages into Plus. It was clear from August of last year that Google was testing a return to the 5 Star system and they were never removed from local AdWords display.

Here is the screen shot of a 7-Pack with the “new” star treatment:

Screen Shot courtesy of Valesence/LocalSearchForum


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First Reports of 5-Stars Returning to the Main Search Results by

17 thoughts on “First Reports of 5-Stars Returning to the Main Search Results”

  1. So nice to see a post from you, as always, Mike. Wonder if the stars will show up in the carousel or if Google is glued to the ratio ratings there. Thanks for reporting on this.

  2. Hi Miriam
    Thanks. Been taking a breather. Vacation and trying to catch up on work.

    You are asking whether Google will show the stars AND the number in the Carousel? Good question… Certainly the 30 point scale is toast. I would think that they would show both as that is how they are doing it elsewhere. But then again…

  3. Thanks for posting, Mike.

    Google must be rolling this out real slowly, because I can’t see the review stars / 5-point ratings in the SERPs no matter what I type in – even when I look at the results in the screenshot. And that puzzles me a little, given that the reappearance of the stars/ratings on everyone’s Google+ Local pages last week was universal.

  4. @Phil

    This being a “first sighting” could be a test and it could be the real thing. We know its coming.

    Frequently these are visible in test mode on only a few browsers. If things don’t break too badly then Google does this “let’s test it with 10,000 and if that doesn’t totally screw the pooch, we’ll test it with 100,000 and soon we will have real scale” process.

    I haven’t seen it either.

  5. Hard to say whether Zagat or Frommer’s was the bigger waste of money for Google…especially when you take into account all of the integration and dis-integration costs. I wonder if anyone on Wall Street is considering Marissa’s track record here WRT her spending spree at Yahoo?

  6. Thanks for covering Mike!

    @Phil “Google must be rolling this out real slowly, because I can’t see the review stars / 5-point ratings in the SERPs no matter what I type in”

    I remember when I broke that huge Places change back in 2010 here on Mike’s blog, for a long time I was the only one that could see it. So sometimes I think it’s a matter of luck or if you happen to be hitting a test server. I’ve seen other updates roll out like this. More and more will begin to see it. Then BAM it will go live.

    Here’s another example for Cincinatti Roofing posted at my forum by John Crenshaw. Bigger better screenshot.

  7. Try Chrome now. I tried everything earlier today – no Stars.

    Still not seeing stars in FF but just started seeing in Chrome.

    Also seeing stars in the Carousel with Chrome.

    Stars, stars everywhere. YAY!

  8. Thanks Mike.

    The USA is always getting Google’s new features first… 🙂

    Although we don’t have the carousel in the Netherlands, yet, since today we see the 5-star reviews in Dutch SERPs as well!

    Looks like it’s rolling out gradually indeed.

  9. The more precise decimal scoring (4.2 or 4.8, as opposed to just rounding to the nearest half decimal) is an interesting feature.

    1. @Elizabeth
      Yes that is an interesting twist that results in increased granularity. I wonder if that decision was user driven or just a way to better capture the math of the more complex Zagat scores correctly?

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