Both Google Maps and Google Places aim to help consumers find the right business for their needs, and do so using reviews from the public as a method of doing so. While users can submit reviews directly through Google itself, the majority of the feedback is imported through other prominent review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, PriceLine, Hotels.com, and more. However, TripAdvisor — one of the greatest contributors of hotel reviews for Google Places and Maps — has recently blocked Google from receiving its review stream.
As first reported by Tnooz, the missing reviews that were first reported as absent due to a “technical issue” have been confirmed as an intentional move from TripAdvisor.
“We have currently limited TripAdvisor content available on [Google] pages,” said an official TripAdvisor representative. The block happened in response to changes in the Google Places page layout. The alterations focused on making images and reviews more central in focus, while decreasing the map’s size and prominent position. A representative from TripAdvisor stated that the company had been keeping their eyes on these changes and felt that they were not to the benefit of those seeking the best hotel.
Google has a history of reconciliation in issues such as these, but TripAdvisor has made no comment on whether they are considering a return. They have stated, however, that they’re keeping their eyes on feature updates for Google Places. While TripAdvisor stated that their issue was with the Google Places layout, the problem is not quite so simple.
This isn’t the first time that a review company has stopped Google from importing their data. Yelp previously had a dispute with the the search engine giant which made some major waves before it was resolved. For review companies, Google represents both a substantial marketing opportunity and a very real competitor, as the functionality of Google Places expands in a way that may threaten business.