It appears that Facebook is testing new star ratings for Places, a move that could help the social network better organize Places in search.

Facebook isn’t a stranger to the star rating system; it currently uses it to rank apps. So it wouldn’t be a difficult transition, as many consumers are already familiar with star ratings thanks to popular review sites like Yelp.

Currently Places pages still have Like buttons, but some members are seeing a new “Rate These Places” module in the sidebar. Here individuals have the option of giving one to five stars to places they’ve been to or Liked.

What sets the social network apart from Yelp is that its star ratings are issued in a random sampling to avoid manipulation. By offering rating opportunities at random (instead of a static page that anyone can visit), Facebook has made it much more difficult to game the system.

It appears that the company might have done the same thing with Places, but it hasn’t been confirmed. Following in the same footsteps would help to protect the validity of the ratings, so we can’t see Facebook deviating away from it.

Star ratings could be a nice addition to the recommendations that members can already leave on your Timeline. It would definitely make Facebook Pages a stronger resource for local businesses. However, it’s unknown whether the company will roll this out or if it’s simply just a test.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: Rachel Kramer]