Google+ Retires Local Apps Due to Low Usage Rate
Google has dropped Google+ Local Apps, which was designed to help iOS users learn from reviews in their circles about local businesses, particularly restaurants. The reviews contained customer scores for food, service, decor and other factors. Part of the reason for the discontinuation was dropping usage, but another factor was many of the features are already integrated into the Google Maps for mobile devices, which represents the convergence of several online trends.
Even though Google+ became the number two social network behind Facebook in 2013, it's still in its infancy in developing its infrastructure, especially for mobile users. Google+ launched in 2011 and within months had the top free app at the Apple App Store, which was the iPhone app. Since then Google has been experimenting with their social network as apps come and go. They even gave Google+ a complete facelift in May 2013.
Originally called Google Places, the Google+ Local app was meant to give iOS users the ability to search local establishments by categories such as restaurants or night clubs. In May 2012 Google Places was renamed Google+ Local, which by then was integrated with Google's site Zagat, which provides customer reviews and ratings. The Local app could also help users discover restaurants in their neighborhoods as well as the areas of friends. Users could post restaurant photos and reviews outside of Zagat.
Following the announcement in late July, the Local app could no longer be found in the Apple app store as a standalone product, but its features were merged into the Google Maps app. The Local app is one of many apps discontinued by Google, along with the Shopper app for Android and iOS. Other casualties in 2013 include Google's Reader, Catalogue and Latitude apps.
The Google+ Local app for iOS users, designed for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, was given its final update on April 10, 2013. The app was retired the following August 7. People who still want access to the Local app features can download the Google Maps iOS app, where the Local app link now redirects at the Apple app store.