Google has removed outside customer reviews from Google Places, its service that offers details and recommendations on local businesses, and has replaced them with an option for users to add their own reviews.
Google Places previously featured preview snippets of customer reviews from sites like Yelp, Citysearch, and TripAdvisor. But Avni Shah, Google’s director of product management, said in a blog post that the decision was “based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months.”
Critics had charged that Google was building Google Places as a competitor to sites like Yelp by using snippets of content from Yelp itself.
Reuters searches for other issues:
The move, announced in Google’s official blog on Thursday, follows the disclosure of a U.S. antitrust investigation last month.
The federal probe concerns whether Google, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search engine advertising, abuses its market power by favoring its own services over those of rivals in online searches and through other practices.
The blog post made no mention of the investigation.
Google said the ratings and review counts on Google Places would only reflect reviews that were written by Google users. It will continue to include links to other review sites.
Google LatLong: The evolution of Google Place pages [Google’s Lat Long Blog]
Google “Places” drops outside customer reviews [Reuters]