Author Information Results with Google Plus

We know that Google has been integrating author results in the main search for a while and late last month tweaked those results with the addition of circles . But Google is now linking the Author Information image in the main search directly with recent Google Plus posts in a results much like the Plus Places integration seen earlier in the week. Unlike the local results which were in Places but not the Main results, this integration is occurring in the main search results.

To see the results search on an author with author information like Matt McGee and then click directly on the author photo to see the integration with the Posts in the search results:

Where good ideas come from

I would like to share with you some insights about innovation and motivation. However, rather than writing up an essay on this topic I opted for a more leisurely approach: using video presentations from YouTube. A short introduction first.

You might have come across stories where people “just had an enlightening moment” and invented something extraordinary and became “overnight success”. But the reality is that great inventions are never borne overnight. Steve Johnson, the author of “Where good ideas come from”, explains it in more detail, and in a very entertaining way, in the first video presentation. If you still struggle to come up with that “one big idea” that will move things forward for you, don’t despair! There is hope for all of us “slow thinkers” after all!

The second video, equally entertaining, is about motivation – or rather the secrets of creating an environment that allow the innovation to flourish, increasing the chances of coming up with that elusive “big idea”. Fifteen minutes required to view both video presentations can be a great investment in your future. Enjoy!

If you like it, please share using this short URL version:

Google Places Now Requiring New “Places Profile” For Reviews

Several weeks ago, before, during and after the Hotspot rollout, newly created reviews from reviewers with non-public Google profiles were having their Places reviews filtered. I tested this by writing a number of reviews, over time and many places in a secondary account. All of the reviews were accepted, none were published.

Google has now implemented a new, limited review profile called a “Places Profile” that allows reviews  to be shown but requires a new, quasi private profile with at least a nickname to proceed.

If a current Google account user without a public profile attempts to write a review on a business Place Page without this new Places profile they will see this message on the Places Page and will be unable to proceed until they visit Hotspot and enter their “nickname” (click to view larger) :

They are taken over to Hotspot and presented with this screen:

This new limited public profile is accompanied by a change in the Google Profile page that makes a clearer distinction between a public and non public profile although it makes no mention of the new limited Places Profile and offers no opportunity to create it:

Google has upgraded the HotPot Help Pages to better explain the role of the new Places Profile and notes what will occur to your existing reviews if no nickname is chosen:

Existing reviews & Places profile

You may have already written reviews or rated places on Google.

When you create a Places profile at, your new and existing reviews will be publicly attributed to the nickname that you specify.

If you don’t create a Places profile, but already have a public Google profile, your existing ratings & reviews will be attributed to your profile nickname (if available) or your first name. If you don’t have a public Google profile, your existing ratings & reviews will be attributed anonymously, e.g. to “A Google User”.

In cases where your reviews are attributed to you, your name links to an aggregate view of all your place ratings & reviews on Google.

The ratings and recomendations page in the Help files note that your new “nickname” will show to all in the following public Google  places:

Another change in Google’s review handling, is that new reviews often move to the bottom of the queue on the Places Page, not the top. How long they stay there is unclear but I presume that it is a change that is an effort to minimize the ability of a business to push a bad review off the top. It may be a matter of trust of the reviewer as well, as I have so far only noticed it on anonymous reviews.

This new, limited Places profile and its implementation unfortunately adds  a new layer of user complexity to newbie reviewers. The extra step opens a new window to create the profile. The user is presented with an unfamiliar, empty HotSpot window leaving them with no understanding why they are where they or what they need to do to get back to the Places page.

On the positive side, it will once again allow readers to see all of the reviews by a particular reviewer, returning some transparency that appeared to be lost several weeks ago during the transition period. It will force previous non-public reviewers to add a nickname if they want to add new reviews and will require a nickname for all new reviewers.

From Google’s point of view, it will force every reviewer into HotSpot and expose them to the interface and the recommendation engine. It should, over time increase viewers of it.

This new process though, by adding a layer of complexity and moving folks off of the Places Page, runs the risk of creating additional friction in the review process.