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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Do Bugs Precede Places Updates?

Historically it has been true that major updates to Google Places have been preceeded by more annoying and obvious bugs than normal being highlighted in the forums and elsewhere. In the case of the recent update that occurred on July 21st, there were a number of these bugs noted in the forums starting in early July.

Event Date of Forum Mention
Reviews Go Missing  7/4/11 
Descriptions Missing  7/6/11
All Listings Hit Pending  7/17/11
Places Update Goes Live  7/21/11

While correlation is not causation I do not think that it is coincidental that these “bugs” started shortly after the rollout of the new Google look and Google+ at the end of June. I also think it likely and have seen indications that in addition to changes in the Places layout there were under the hood changes to the review spam tagging algo and the rules that enforce the quality quidelines.