Google Place Search Launches to Boost Local Listings
Google Oct. 27 moved to boost its local search services by launching Google Place Search, which groups information around places when users do a search for a local restaurant, landmark or business.
The move comes as Google is ramping up its geolocation and local search efforts under Marissa Mayer. Formerly the company's search user experience guru, Mayer is tasked with more closely tying Google's search results with location.
To that end, Google Place Search results will appear when users search for local businesses. Place Search may also be accessed through a new Places link in the left-hand panel of the search results page.
In Google's example of a search for a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas, Google Place Search surfaces new results with red pins representing restaurants.
Restaurant pictures, addresses and phone numbers are included along with links to reviews from Yelp.com, Citysearch.com, Tripadvisor.com and Urbanspoon.com, when available.
Previously, the same search for barbecue restaurants would return links about eateries in a so-called "7-Pack" of results on the results page. Search Engine Land offers the best walk-through of the old local search and new Place Search results here.
Results will appear that are germane to the places people are searching for because Google is trying to "predict" when users are surfing for local information with new "technology to better understand places."
This new software covers hundreds of millions of Websites with more than 50 million real-world locations.
Google also boosted the number of links to 30 or 40 so that users can find the results they need with one search instead of conducting several.
Google Place Search Product Manager Jackie Bavaro said this saved people testing the new search service an average of 2 seconds per local search.
Place Search is rolling out in more than 40 languages in the next few days, with some results accompanied by Google Boost contextual ads that let local businesses more easily surface their services and goods on Google.com.