Not sure if I am seeing a test or if this is rolling out everywhere but now when I click on the “[#] Google reviews” link for a business from the SERPs, I am seeing a lightbox type of pop up display instead of being sent to the Google Plus Page for the business. Check it out:

Google Plus Local SERP

Google Plus Local Pop Up Top

Google Plus Local PopUp Full

Here’s the URL that shows the pop-up.

Some initial observations:

  1. The default view is a list of the 10 most recent reviews with a “more reviews” link at the bottom that creates a kind of infinite scroll effect
  2. There’s a review sort and a prominent “write a review” button.  Pro Tip: Google wants you to write a review.
  3. There is no link to a map or driving directions which seems kind of wrong but implies that Google is thinking when you want reviews, we give you reviews and when you want a map, you go back to the SERP to get the map.  In a way it’s a simpler construct than the kitchen sink approach they use now
  4. THE SERP IS NOW TOTALLY SEPARATE FROM THE BUSINESS’ GOOGLE+ PAGE. still exists, but it only appears to be accessible via the Google+ UI and as a normal result in the SERPs.

Not sure what this means in the scheme of things other than perhaps Google thinks searchers want a different experience than social media users when looking for local stuff, but it seems odd that the two are so separate given Google’s desire to make them more unified.

UPDATE: Try browsing in Incognito mode:


Share This Story!

About Author

30 Response Comments

  • Nick Rink  July 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Great spot. Have tried it out for a handful of businesses here in the UK and am seeing the same kind of lightbox. It’s only triggered on though, not on

  • Phil Rozek  July 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Not seeing the lightbox in or out of incognito mode. You guys must be the Chosen Ones.

    If this apparently small test ever sees the big-time, I’d be puzzled. The lightbox (as far as I can tell) doesn’t exactly invite the user to “engage” with G+, other than by writing a review.

  • Andrew Shotland  July 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm


    Guessing they are just testing to see if it can generate more review content v. engagement.

  • mike bayes  July 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Not getting it logged in or out and on several browsers. Great catch BTW. Might be something “coming soon”, or, Google knows who you are and is serving up these results to mess with you.

  • Phil Rozek  July 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Now I’m seeing it. But not in incognito mode.

    It amazes me how bare the lightbox is. If it ever rolls out more broadly, my guess is Google will load it up.

  • Nicola Zanon  July 31, 2013 at 5:13 am

    I’ve tried it (logged-in – logged-out) but haven’t seen any kind of lightbox. Takes me directly to Google+ page.

    Google Italy

  • Jun Baranggan  July 31, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I’m getting it while logged in and not in an incognito window. Interesting to note is that I’m in the Philippines but using instead of Not sure if it’s significant.

  • Radina Disheva  July 31, 2013 at 5:59 am

    There is still an indirect way to get to the G+ page from the SERP – when you click on the map marker, it takes you to a map of the place and there you click “more info”.

    By the way, I’m in Europe right now and I don’t get to see the pop-up.

  • Jackson Lo  July 31, 2013 at 6:05 am

    I see it when I’m logged in, but not in Incognito. These are searches on… guess I’m one of the guinea pigs on this one.

    For a business that I’ve reviewed, I get the lightbox clicking on “# reviews” and also “edit review”. This business has a knowledge graph box – this means there is a button for Directions and Edit your review. There is also info on Address, Phone, Hours and a snippet of reviews.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google roll this out globally, especially with businesses now showing up with a Knowledge Graph box for brand searches.

  • Morry Mitrani  July 31, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Definitely seems odd that there’s no social features in the lightbox. Maybe social options will also pop up if the Google local page has social features on it.

  • Joy Hawkins  July 31, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I see it if I search in Firefox for any business with reviews (tried several searches). I don’t see it in Chrome or Internet Explorer. For some reason Firefox always seems to show some of these search results pages differently than the other 2 browsers.

  • Jo Shaer  July 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Late to the party as usual… but I’m still not seeing it yet 🙁

  • Darren Shaw  July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Holy weird! I see it on all Canadian local searches logged in and in incognito. Why the heck would they abandon their Plus Local pages? This is bizarre. Must be a phased roll out of some bigger picture stuff.

  • Nick Rink  July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Agree with many of the comments above and can’t figure out why they’d make it so difficult to access the G+ Local pages.

    So far have spotted the popups on Google .com, .ca, and .fr. It’s not working in Germany, Spain, Italy Australia, New Zealand or South Africa … in case anyone was wondering!

  • Mike Blumenthal  July 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    According to google this is the new normal

  • Joy Hawkins  July 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I checked with Google and this is a UI update so it’s not temporary or a bug – it’s sticking!

  • Linda Buquet  July 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Yep update not a just test, so sounds like it’s rolling out.

  • Mike Blumenthal  July 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I think that Google is looking to capture readers for a longer period of time rather than “abandon” Plus Local pages. The reality is that many, many more readers are on the front page of Google than ever make it into a Plus local page. If Google can increase engagement on the home page by 2% that would far exceed even a 50% increase of engagement on a Plus local page.

    With the rollout of the knowledge panel the Plus local pages became largely irrelevant to searchers with the exception of reviews. Now that reason is gone as well.

  • Andrew Shotland  July 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Professor…But I still think this has to lead to a more engaging version of the G+L experience at some point.

  • Darren Shaw  July 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense. Search results with the carousel give you all the other stuff right there (photos, directions, etc). It really does keep the user engaged on Google when evaluating businesses.

    I also just noticed that when you select a business in the carousel you get an option to click through to their Google+ page if they have merged.

  • Andp P of  August 2, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I get slightly different results logged out. Pages that have a review the light box opens up but ones that don’t have a review it goes to their Google + Page

  • Nate Shivar  August 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

    It looks like to me that having a direct link to their Google+ Page in the SERPs has a lot to do with whether they have a verified Google+ Local page or not.

    In the example given, Haps does not have a verified profile.

    Thanks for the spot Andrew!

  • Spook SEO  August 4, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Interesting. I don’t really see the light box even when using on different searches (and I’m on incognito mode). This must be a test done by Google for a seleceted few. I wonder where they’re headed at though… This seems kind of an “anti-Google+” thing to do…

    • Andrew Shotland  August 4, 2013 at 10:20 am


      Based on what I am hearing in the comments, on other sites, and from others in the know, this is a global rollout. It just may not have hit you yet.

      Re being “anti-Google+”, I think Google has decided this is a better path to get review content which ultimately will improve Google+ as they roll out updates that integrate more with it.

  • Radina Disheva  August 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The pop-up is now seen in Europe too. The update is already almost global I guess.

  • Al  August 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve been seeing this for a few days as well.

  • samsonmedia  August 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I’m seeing it. But I think this is Google’s way of cementing the status of Google+ even more, not less. Notice, in order to comment, you need to be logged in. It seems to just be another feature of Google listings NOT an either-or situation.

  • dozza  September 8, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Annoyingly, positive/contsructive responses to negative reviews that have been added via G+ page do not display in the reviews pop-up.

    Why do we bother responding to negative reviews if the public cant see them?