Google added a social element to its local search today, with the launch of Google+ Local. The new feature is largely an overhaul of Google's Places pages, which show relevant information and reviews for more than 80 million places worldwide; the company rolled out a redesign of those pages in mobile search just yesterday, and it's now adding that search and those pages into Google+. It's reminiscent of Foursquare's Explore feature: when you search for a place you'll be shown not only standard search results, but also listings of places your friends like, or places rated highly by people with similar tastes to your own. Local is now a tab in the left sidebar of Google Plus, though you'll also be able to get to it by clicking on a place listing in Maps or simply through search.
The rating system has been overhauled, too: five-star reviews are being replaced by multi-category, 30-point Zagat scores that Zagat created. This is the first integration we've seen since Google bought Zagat last September, and it adds a much more reliable scoring engine to Google results. Places won't have a score until enough data's been collected, and since places have different scores for different traits — food and service, for instance — you'll get a better sense of what a place is actually like. If you have a friend with great taste, you can see on their Google+ profile a list of all the places they've rated or reviewed.
Google+ Local is rolling out now, so if you don't have it yet feel free to begin furiously refreshing your browser. The Google Maps Android app is also being updated to include the social features and Zagat scores, and the iOS app will be updated soon as well. Of course, now that the "Local" feature we heard about a few days ago has come to light, "Events" might be right around the corner.