As we all know Google exists to make the lives of marketers everywhere more difficult. In their latest move, Google has decided to get rid of Google Places and use Google+ Local as a replacement. What does this mean? Who the heck knows, but SearchEngineLand wrote a great article about it today. My Hustler-like brain makes me wonder why they are doing this. What I came up with is that it’s a way to force people to use Google+. You know what they say….”if you can’t grow a social network because people love it, grow it by forcing people to use it.” I’m not sure who says that but it’s the obvious plan. The more Google makes their much used services revolve around Google+, the more active users they will get. The more businesses that jump on the Google+ bandwagon (which will be every local business), the more businesses start promoting Google+ to their customers (ie leave us a review on Google+). It’s a diabolical marketing scheme and a major pain in the ass for all of the local businesses who spent time building up and optimizing their Google Places pages.