From Mastering Local Google+:
“Google+ was created by the search engine giant to compete with the social media juggernaut, Facebook. What may have started out to be a “simple” social media site has morphed into something more—much more.
“You see, Google has not only staked its claim on social media, but it has also reestablished its very strong foothold in local search and local search marketing. On May 30, 2012, Google made a bold move: They migrated the entirety of their 80 million Google Places listings to what they are alternatively calling, “Google+ Local” or “Local Google+.”
“In one fell swoop, Google made a very strong move. While it remains to be seen whether this turns out to be the online marketing equivalent of “check” or “checkmate,” it is crystal clear that Google is reinventing itself in terms of search, social networking, and local listings. They have also made some big moves in mobile.
“This play on the ‘So Mo Lo’ (Social Mobile Local) phenomena is important for all stakeholders involved, from local businesses, regional brands, and global powerhouses, to webmasters, search engine optimization practitioners, business consultants, and—perhaps most of all— consumers. Each will be affected in at least one way or another. Producers and consumers alike will benefit from knowing where Local Google+ came from, where it is now, and where it is most likely headed for the future.”
Mastering Local Google+ will give you the tools you need to maximize your Google+ opportunities.