How Google May Use Google+ to Improve Reviews of Goods and Services

Can Google use social media, like Google+ to improve the quality of reviews it shows for products and services? Google does like to show reviews to searchers, possibly because many searchers ask for reviews.

A Google patent application published in June explores and discusses analyzing reviews, and creating quality scores for reviews from social media content and other review generated content.


Imagine leaving a review of a business or a product at Google, and it asking you if it could used any related social media content about that product or service that you may leave at a place such as Google+ (it does mention Google+ specifically) to augment your review. That’s the focus of this patent application.

Do people leave reviews of places or products and then talk about those places or products on a social network? If so, this patent describes a process that does some social listening to see how well social commentary a person leaves might match up with a review that they publish.

Before the patent describes that, it tries to put the review process into context for us.

It tells us that many reviews appear on the Web, which are offered by many content providers, with an aim of assisting people to evaluate products or services they may buy. People researching products or services might use a search engine to look for reviews and sort through them. Reviews are a mixed bag. Some reviews are helpful, some can mislead, some may be paid reviews, for some the reviewers may have little or no experience with the things being reviewed, or some reviews may be contrary to the reviewer’s actual feelings.

On the other hand, it then tells us that in social media, many people comment about products and services. Often statements made on social media are typically representative of a reviewer’s true sentiment about a product or service. The patent points out that in social media and other platforms, with user consent, they have analyzed social media content to assess information about products or services.

So, the focus of this patent is to give searchers access to online social media generated content about products and services that have been reviewed.

It also explores a way of using that social media content to assess the quality of reviews in an online review platform. This means accessing the reviewer generated social content associated with the reviewer.

The reviewer generated content includes information about a product or service posted outside of the review platform, like on the social network.

This method includes analyzing the reviewer generated social content to extract product review data and matching the product review data with the review provided by the reviewer in the online review platform.

A quality score may be created for the review based on product review data that may be extracted from the reviewer generated social content.

This quality score is intended to provide a measure of the consensus between the product review data extracted from the reviewer generated social content and the review that they may have left.


The patent is:

Assessing Quality of Reviews Based on Online Reviewer Generated Content
Invented by:
US Patent Application 20150178279
Published June 25, 2015
Filed: May 31, 2013


Systems and methods for assessing the quality of a review submitted to a review platform are provided. Reviewers that submit reviews may desire for their reviews to be more prominent or to be assigned greater weight by users of the review platform.

According to aspects of the present disclosure, reviewers can optionally enrich reviews posted to an online review platform by associating a quality score with the reviews. The quality score for the review can be determined based on the reviewer’s commentary regarding a product or service in a social media setting or in other settings.

Reviews posted in an online platform can be prioritized based on the quality score such that reviews consistent with other reviewer generated content are more prominent. Indicia indicative of the quality score can be displayed in conjunction with the reviews such that reviews that are consistent reviews are more readily discernible.


One question I was left with after reading this patent was how much people might talk about products or services at Google+ that they leave reviews for at Google. I don’t know if many people who write reviews do write more about those products or services. But if they do, it might be interesting seeing what they may write, or if it matches up with the review they wrote, that might mean that the review is a higher quality one.

The patent discusses the use of sentiment analysis, to compare if the review content about a service or product is negative or positive, and if the social media mentions are positive or negative as well. Where the content from the two different sources matches up, that would indicate a higher quality score for the review. Where those two sources match up, the information provided is deemed to be more reliable. Some of the content from the social media mentions might be displayed with the reviews as well.

A quality score might be determined for the rater based upon all of the reviews submitted by him or her. Reviews may be shown to people based on those reviewer ratings, so that people with higher ratings may have their reviews displayed more prominently in the review platform.

The patent provides more details on how this process to show higher quality reviews might work, but the thing that stood out to me was the use of Google+ to support and augment a user’s reviews.

Article Name
How Google May Use Google+ to Improve Reviews of Goods and Services
A Google patent application shows how Google may use Social Media information to improve the quality of reviews it shows people for Goods and Services.

17 thoughts on “How Google May Use Google+ to Improve Reviews of Goods and Services”

  1. Bill, thanks for this great article that helped me understand something that has been nagging at me when seeing Reviews and Ratings on Google’s search results. Namely that most of the reviews & ratings shown for any business Google+ page (and Maps) is always much lower than the actual reviews that company has. I believe the reviews shown are in fact only those actually left on G+ and may come down to the step shown above “Obtain reviewer permission to enhance review” as lets face it anyone able to leave a review has in all probability already given Google that permission (small print) when registering for a Google account conversely it would be a lot of work for Google to request such permission from various directories and other sites where reviews can be left.

  2. Hi John,

    This is a patent application, and Google may not have implemented all parts of it. It does say specifically that they would only take and use social media content (likely from Google+) from a person to augment and tie to review with the consent of someone who leaves a review, so if Google follows that part of it (which sounds like a good idea), they wouldn’t do a small print approach to that. The patent doesn’t say anything about approaching other sites where reviews have been left to gain permission from them; that’s not how this approach works.

  3. This is great news. I think Google should put more attention on Google+, I know it’s not as effective as Facebook in terms of social media but reviews of restaurants or shops through Google+, would be effective.

  4. Hi Leo,

    I agree, I think this approach to reviews, backed by statements from the reviewers from their social media interactions is a really good approach, and it doesn’t need to be Facebook for it to work well.

  5. Hi John,

    No, it means that both good and negative reviews might be seen, depending on if the review expresses one type of sentiment, and the social media mentions match in sentiment.

  6. Google+ can still be useful nowadays. We just need to know the right way on how we can use Google+ for our business.

    Btw, you got a tweet from me!

  7. Hi Trstan,

    Google+ doesn’t need to be a Facebook competitor for it to be useful. There are other ways that it could be, like this approach to making reviews better.

  8. “A quality score might be determined for the rater based upon all of the reviews submitted by him or her. Reviews may be shown to people based on those reviewer ratings, so that people with higher ratings may have their reviews displayed more prominently in the review platform.”

    This will be interesting to see if the try to tie this in with the new 3 pack local maps. Specifically as they role out the new home service ads and they begin to test more markets!

  9. Ahh! so this is how product reviews work. Thanks for the great article Bill

  10. Hi Bill! Thanks for giving us an opportunity to read this interesting post! I fully agree with you that Google can use social media, like Google + and also other media, to improve the quality of reviews it shows for products and services. Personally, I cannot buy any product or services without reading reviews which helps me to find such a product I was looking for. However, it should be noted that there are many fake reviews, that is why the customers should be really attentive while reading.

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