Interesting article and comments this morning on Tnooz about Google removing third party hotel reviews from its prominent place on Maps and Places products. Before, when you went to Google Maps or Places, you would be able to see TripAdvisor, Yelp and other 3rd party reviews. Now they're gone. In their place, just reviews written on Google's own platform by people with a Google ID.
Of the changes, the Google Lat Long Blog says, "Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe." The 3rd party reviews can be accessed by scrolling down the page, where plain text links allow you to see reviews from around the world on TripAdvisor, TravelPod and Booking.com, in Hotel Rex's case.
I am seeing a little bit of an outcry from hoteliers because, like TripAdvisor, reviews on Google's platform aren't verified at all. All you have to do is click "write a review," share your thoughts, and your review is published immediately.
Otherwise, most people see it as a sign that Google is looking to create a robust platform, driven by user generated content, and helpful because it knows who you are and who your friends are, thanks to the recently released Google+. Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.