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On Our Radar: On Local Ratings and Maps (guess who?)

On our radar this week: AppleMaps and Google's Review System

If you’ve been following the blog you’ve likely guessed correctly – probably because we’ve went on about them at length. But it’s for good reason since Google has yet again made a change to their rating system. And, well, we might have poked some fun at Apple Maps, but data is proving all the japes and jeers irrelevant.

Zagat Not Quite Gone (But for how long?)

We’ve never been enthusiastic about the Zagat system – it was too restaurant focused and didn’t translate well with the popular 5-star system. Has Google sided with us and finally done away with Zagat?

Not quite.

Instead they’ve made a more convoluted process to display reviews. Now, instead of rating with numbers, you can rate with qualitative descriptors. Google converts these accordingly for their overall 30-point score that’s displayed in Google+, Search, and Google Maps.

Whereas the general display (/30) remains unscathed, personal reviews are now listed using one of the following:

Poor-Fair

Good

Very Good

Excellent

The upside to this is that it eliminates the numeric perception of scores. We had an issue with how Zagat counted the above qualifiers in terms of numerical value. Growing up, 1/3=33.33% is a failing grade while 2/3 is a pass (though still not impressive) – and yet these were used to represent good and very good.

This time around, we’re actually given “good” and  “very good”. That’s an improvement. This seems like a case of Google realizing Zagat was a bad idea and trying to justify/work their way around it anyway.

Apple Maps Sucks? No One’s Bothered!

We can speculate about the efficacy of technology all we want, but really, the data is all that matters. Whether or not changes have a marked effect on the population is the real objective. Mike Blumenthal launched a survey (n=168) to gauge consumer opinion regarding Apple Maps (what do critics know, anyway?)

Only 8.8% of respondents said it would have any effect on their future buying decisions. Considering the amount of people who own an iPhone, this could still seem significant. If you add the group that “found it annoying but was okay with it” then that number goes up to 26%. The thing is, if it’s really a big deal, Google Maps is still available to them through the iPhone which alleviates the problem entirely.

On my last post I mentioned how Apple Maps botched some landmarks. The important thing was that the guy found his way to his destination anyway, and with minimal inconvenience. Plus, as was mentioned before, Google Maps can still be added to the iOS6 if it’s that much of an issue.

And so far (according to the data, at least), it isn’t.

 

Is this the final step in the Google rating system? Is Google clinging to their corporate buy too hard? Is this a step up or are they going around in circles?

Google is the only platform having this problem. Weigh in and tell us what you think.

We’ll be figuring out how to rate Apple Maps on Google+ Local.

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