Here is the feedback that I just sent to Apple:
"Why is defining a place such a hassle? Don't bother telling me the steps -- I know them too well. Tell me why, when I select a photo, type something in the teeny-weeny Assign a Place... dialog, then select one of the suggestions, what happens next depends on whether the selected suggestion is a custom place or one that Google found? Tell me why, if it's the former and I move the pin around and assign it a new name, I effectively modify the place, just as if I were working in Manage my Places, whereas if it's the latter, I define a new custom place? Tell me why, if the custom place that I define happens to overlap other custom places, the photos assigned to them will be reassigned to the new custom place? Tell me why I can't adjust the radius of the place in the teeny-weeny Assign a Place... dialog to prevent that from happening ... by the time I do that in Manage my Places it's too late! Tell me why, with every new version of iPhoto 11 the usability of Places just gets worse?"
Of course, I don't expect Apple to answer, but I would appreciate any hints for solving, or, at least, avoid the problems described above. They weren't problems in the previous major version of iPhoto.
The latest patch, 9.1.3, seems to have brought new Places problems. I assigned a photo to Martinskirchplatz in Basel. It wasn't in My Places, so it's a place that iPhoto found through Google. Naturally, it overlapped other custom places nearby: Rheinsprung, Alte Universität von Basel, Basler Rathaus. So, after adjusting the radius of Martinskirchplatz in Manage my Places to avoid overlapping them, I switched to the Places view and selected Martinskirchplatz to see all the photos that really belonged to the overlapped places but had been reassigned, and painfully assigned them back to the correct places. Then I found a photo that I had originally assigned to Rheinsprung and reassigned it to Martinskirchplatz, since that's exactly where I had taken it. When I exited Places, re-entered and selected Martinskirchplatz, only the photo for which I had defined that place was there, not the one that I had reassigned to it. No matter what I did, I could not convince iPhoto to show me both photos for that place, despite the fact that, in the Info displays for both the place was correct, and it only appears once in Manage my Places. So I decided to repair and rebuild the library, and iPhoto decided to surprise me by only retaining the places for photos taken with the iPhone (presumably because they contain the GPS coordinates). WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT Rebuild Library from backup MEANS THAT CUSTOM PLACES WILL BE LOST? Just what kind of backup is it that doesn't backup the places?