If you’ve used Google Maps to find businesses, you’ll know that it’s had reviews available for businesses for a long time — content that was pulled from other places like CitySearch and Insiderpages. Google has recently announced that you’ll now be able to see user-created reviews at the Web site as well. There’s also a nifty way to see user-created content, but one thing at a time.
First thing: head over to maps.google.com and run a search. I decided I wanted to find a Super 8 near Walla Walla, Washington, therefore “super 8” walla walla wa Google Maps gave me 129 results (most of them NOT Super 8 motels, but whatever.) Click on the “more info” link beside a listing and you’ll get a map pointer with several tabs providing general information, reviews, Web pages, and photos (there were four photos; three were the same shot and one of them looked like an ivy covered window.) From that window you can click “Write a Review” and provide your own impressions along with a star rating.
At the bottom of the search results you’ll see a “See user-created content” link. Click that and you’ll get links to other Google Maps that incorporate points from your search results, which is kind of cool. For the Walla Walla example I found hotel maps, tourism maps, winery pointers, and a couple of “My Town” type maps. I also found that if you put in a noun or a preference of some sort and then a location you could get very interesting maps. Vegan Chicago was fun. Most of the Google Maps worked, though occasionally the map would be too large to view, formatted incorrectly, or once (in the case of a SmugMug map) couldn’t be found.
I didn’t see too many reviews generated by Google Maps users — Google needs to push that feature I bit. I did enjoy seeing how different locations fit into all kinds of different maps, though!