Google’s Business Review feature, where customers can rate businesses on how well they are doing, was designed to be a better business resource.
It was supposed to give a sense of what the company was doing, and not just the reviews it received, according to people familiar with the program.
The reviews were fake, said one person familiar with Google’s review process.
The review system was designed in such a way that people would think that it was a real business, said a person familiar.
Google’s marketing department thought that was a good idea, according a Google spokesperson.
When Google changed the system in July to require people to sign in to the site, the people said, the reviewers didn’t know.
“They were surprised to see this,” the person familiar said.
Google said it had removed the review system from the Google Play store in September, but the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Google says it’s working to fix the problems, and it said it would have been more transparent if reviewers could have been asked to explain why they were not authentic.
“We have implemented an upgrade to our review process that has made it more difficult for fake reviews to gain a foothold,” the company said in a statement.
“Our goal is to make our reviews better, more accurate and more authentic by requiring people to authenticate themselves before they can rate a business.”
Google has said it is in the process of rolling out a new review system, called the Google Plus review, that will require people, not just reviewers, to sign up for.
Google Plus has also been accused of being riddled with fake reviews, and the company has said that it’s removing the review functionality.
Google and Facebook also announced a series of changes last week that will include a way for users to report problems with their reviews.