Google Maps Gains User-Generated Ratings

    June 20, 2007

Google Maps can now not only tell you how to reach a business – it can say if you should go there at all.  Don’t worry, this isn’t the fruition of Google’s creepy “total information” plan; the tips are provided by user-generated ratings and reviews.

For some businesses, this could be quite a boon.  Jonathan Goldman, a Google Maps Software Engineer, writes, “The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective in Berkeley is one of my favorite places on the planet. . . .  But now, rather than continue to impose my unsolicited opinion about this little gem on those around me, I can finally be more constructive by articulating my thoughts and sharing them with the world.”

As for how the reviews and ratings work, Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz has provided a thorough walkthrough, complete with screenshots.  Business owners take note: Schwartz reviews his own company, and – this is vital – is completely open about doing so (the user name attached to the review is “rustybrick,” which is also the name of the company).

“What prevents owners from giving themselves good reviews like this?” Schwartz then asks.  “There is an option for others to ‘flag as inappropriate’ any reviews they disagree with.”

That’s one incentive to be careful with these Google Maps reviews.  Here’s another one: Goldman will probably wind up kicking himself if long lines develop at The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective.