Will Google's restaurant reviews affect customers' habits?

Will Google's restaurant reviews affect customers' habits?

Google has teamed up with a high profile restaurant reviewer in order to provide reviews, but will they really influence the way that customers decide where to eat?

There are a number of issues with the partnership between the search engine giant and Zagat, as far as we can see. For a start, we all know and use Google on a day-to-day basis and therefore understand some of its idiosyncrasies, which can be both good and bad. Knowing its layout and format means that customers may well be drawn to it, but we also know that as well as returning the most relevant content from the web, Google also features some results which have been paid for.

An important feature of restaurant reviews is that they are impartial with no vested interest in order to sway a potential customer. Has Google already undermined such objectivity by the very nature of its operations before it has launched itself into the world of restaurant reviewing?

Many people are more likely to take notice of a personal recommendation than one on the internet in any case. There are a number of sites which have tried to tap into the personal style recommendation since customers tend to trust their peers and those who are similar to them.

Certain problems have arisen however, with businesses seeking to influence customers by posting reviews of their own establishments. Direct feedback is a good alternative for restaurant management to find out what those visiting their sites really think. It also offers a good chance to engage with customers and inform decisions going forward.

In the meantime those looking up directions online or the phone number of a restaurant in order to book will find that Google presents them with a review as well. If they have already decided to go then they may not be put off if the review is negative and it may depend on whether the reviews adhere to their views on other places as to whether they choose to follow it or not.
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