Google Places for iOS got a significant makeover yesterday, complete with a name change. In keeping with their plan to foist Google+ upon as many of their users as possible, Google Places is now Google+ Local.
The update, rolled out yesterday afternoon, changes little about the app except the name. The basic, Yelp-like functionality remains unchanged. When you open the app for the first time you’ll be prompted to sign in with your Google credentials. Once you’re signed in, you can start exploring the places around you. Google+ local breaks it down into several categories for you, including restaurants, hotels, bars, post offices, and more. Tapping a category – e.g., restaurants – brings up a list of businesses in your area. You can call, get directions, see map data, and read user reviews all from a business’s listing.
You can, of course, also rate a business and leave a review. This being Google+ Local and no longer Google Places, though, the reviews are no longer anonymous. If you’re signed into Google+ on the app, your name will be attached to your review. Fortunately, Google is kind enough to warn you about this and give you the chance to back out:
All in all, not a lot has changed here. This is basically still Google Places, but with a social makeover. If you despise Google+, then you’re not likely to be too pleased with this update, though you have the option of not signing in when you open the app. On the other hand, if you’re a huge Google+ fan, then this update will be right up your alley.