Advice from friends
Google has announced the launch of Google+ Local, a service which allows people to recommend local services and products to friends and family - and benefit in return.
Its key aim is to identify the best places to visit based on the opinions of people they trust, within Google+. It will incorporate results from Zagat - a review system which compiles and correlates scores from various sources - but will prioritise recommendations given by a person's Google+ contacts.
The new facility will be available as part of Google Maps, mobile and standard searches, as well as forming a new tab within Google+.
When users are logged in, they can search for a local amenity, then clicking on the search result will lead to a page featuring images, summaries and essential information, complemented by reviews from friends and Zagat scores.
"Your friends know what you like, and they probably like the same things you do. That's why the opinions of people in your circles are front and centre," said Google via its official blog.
"If you're searching on Google or Google Maps for a great place to buy a gift for that same friend, your results might include a review from her about a boutique she shops at all the time."
Google's blog post also highlighted its belief in the Zagat system, noting that it has offered high-quality reviews for tens of thousands of places since its launch in 1979 and has become a strong asset for the search giant since integration in autumn 2011.
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "In offline life, people often trust friendly recommendations above those of critics, as their acquaintances are more likely to know their tastes and advise places to suit them. This could be an area in which Google+ really comes into its own, offering something more than social media rivals Facebook and Twitter."