Google has purchased TalkBin, which makes a software platform that lets consumers send feedback, suggestions and questions to local businesses via Android smartphones and the iPhone.
Businesses can then read and respond to their customers on the fly. See this brief screenshot of the mobile apps on TalkBin's homepage.
TechCrunch first noted the acquisition April 25, though a brief note on TalkBin's homepage and the lack of any evidence of TalkBin in either the Android Market or Apple's iTunes store suggest the company had yet to finish its work before getting snapped up by Google.
"When we started building TalkBin in 2010, we set out to find a better way for consumers to connect with their local businesses in a more personal way. While we're proud of what we've accomplished, we believe Google's awesome mobile and local teams combined with their consumer reach will help us make our bigger goals a reality."
Google confirmed the buy but declined to discuss financial terms or provide any specifics about who from the company was joining the search engine.
"We're thrilled to welcome the TalkBin team to Google," a Google spokesperson said. "They've built a cool way for customers to engage with local businesses, and we think they'll be a great fit for our mobile and local teams."
Google said it will briefly suspend TalkBin's services while it makes a few updates. Current customers may email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Any interested businesses can sign up on TalkBin's homepage.
Google has been making a furious local search and e-commerce push in the last year but has accelerated its pace since failing to acquire Groupon for $6 billion last year.
The company is slowly rolling out its Google Offers local deals Groupon clone in Portland, New York City and San Francisco.
Feedback technology such as that provided by TalkBin could help Google improve relations between its local business partners and the consumers the search engine seeks to bring to them.