Google search has been more closely integrated with Google Places, whose local business information now appears couched with Google Maps in search engine results pages.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is sprucing up its search engine by
cramming more information from
Places businesses into its search results pages
When users search Google.com for local businesses, they typically
see a Google Map in the right-hand rail to show them directions to the eatery,
hardware store or whatever local business they're searching for more
information about online.
Now users may see enhanced Google Map results that
include a 360-degree view of the outside and inside of restaurants, hotels,
local businesses, landmarks, museums and other locations.
For instance, Google
will show the interior of a restaurant, such as Redbones Barbecue in Boston
, along with an "at-a-glance" summary of
the type of cuisine, links to the Redbones menu, fare prices, transit
accessibility and business hours.
Users can not only get a feel for the fare, but an idea
of whether the eatery suits their d??Â«cor tastes for flair or subtlety. The goal
is to provide searchers more relevant context to the locations they are
searching for and ideally helping their decision making process.
Google said this layout will also appear for the New England Aquarium
or Fenway Park
, among other places on
Search Engine Land noted
that this seems to
only work for individual businesses, unless a user specifies a chain store
location, such as "Cheesecake Factory" versus "Cheesecake
Factory, ventura blvd."
Eventually, the 360-degree search will be available for
results in more than 40 languages worldwide.
The tighter integration of Google Places, the company's
local business search service, with Google.com, has been a long time coming.
This will be a big boon to existing Google searchers who continue to enjoy more
personalized search services from the company. It will also mean bad news for local
search providers trolling for users.
If Google, which has a 65 percent search share in the
United States and more worldwide, brings its Places functionality completely into the
right-hand rail of Google.com, it could suck users away from Yelp, CitySearch,
TripAdvisor and others.
That could also lend more firepower to those companies'
claims that Google is not behaving nicely to others in the market, something
that could bite Google in the ongoing antitrust investigations.