It seems lately like it's every other day that the Big G is releasing some major update.
In an attempt to socialize search even further, they have over night converted
While it doesn't appear to be fully functional yet in Canada, it is indeed coming. Presumably within the next few days.
Aside from it's appearance, one of the biggest changes is the absence of star reviews. Google has now added 30 point Zagat reviews (they acquired the Zagat review platform last year). While Zagat has primarily been for restaurants in the past, it's review system is now being used for everything from painters and plumbers to spas and shoe stores. Reviews are now more detailed than ever and combine factors to make your rating instead of one overall rating. One more way for the Google gods to quench their thirst on more minute bites of data.
Recommendations from Google will depend on business you have liked in the past, places that your friends have liked and of course ones that are popular with general public like. Reviews are now more important than ever before and having a positive review strategy in place is probably a good idea. If you don't yet have one, we can help.
One of the things I find extremely interesting is that they are starting to show Places listings less on desktop search results in favour of selling more ad space (which is where they make the lion's share of their revenue) VS. showing them more often on mobile as so many mobile searches are looking for local businesses while out and about.
Google's latest mantra. My advice is, it should also be your business'.
Have you created a Google + business page yet? If not, go to https://plus.google.com/ .