A new feature by Google will give its users a bigger role in the reviewing of restaurants and simultaneously attack Yelp’s dominance of the restaurant search segment.
With restaurant eating becoming more and more convenient in North America thanks to prevailing economic conditions that leave consumers with little time to prepare a meal, Google has resorted to innovative features to ensure it is at the helm of the restaurant review business.
The new feature allows Google to recognize when a user snaps a photo of their food at a restaurant. Immediately this is recognized and the user will get a request from Google for permission to share the picture taken on Google maps. Once permission is granted, the app will allow anyone to check out the pictures on Google maps.
At the moment, the feature is only available to Google Maps Local Guides on level three and upwards.
Becoming a Local Guide is open to anyone. However, one will have to write reviews for restaurants, shops and a host of other locations so as to go up the levels ladder. Level three Local guides are required to write up to 50 reviews.
The move by Google is seen as an attempt to maintain dominance of local listings where it has been receiving hefty competition from rival search engines.
Last year, Microsoft acquired Foursquare and integrated its check-in service with its search engine Bing. Closely following the Microsoft acquisition, Yahoo partnered with Yelp to have the latter’s restaurant reviews featured on Yahoo’s search results.
Google is leading the pack in the search market with a market share of 67.3 percent. Bing is second with 18.8 percent while Yahoo trails the pack with 10 percent.
Google has had it out for Yelp for awhile. The search engine pushes its own data on restaurants and even got into trouble for allegedly stealing content from other smaller listing rivals including Amazon. The new feature will offer Google an opportunity to compete aggressively in the restaurant review business while offering its users the best possible search experience.