Google Maps has for years been just another search tool. Users enter a state, city, town or street and get back a graphical layout and directions.
But with its new Place Pages, Google is taking steps to make the application more of a destination where users will spend more time searching for not only directions to places, but for more information about those destinations.
It used to be that when you searched for something on Google Maps you'd get a bubble on the map with an option to see more info. When you clicked that more info, pop-ups served up an expanded info-bubble view with more details on the destination. Search Engine Land points out the old info bubble here.
Now when you do a search on Google Maps and click the "more info" tab on a result, you are served a full Web page about the destination you searched for. If you are researching a business, you can find out what goods and services it offers, its operating hours and a number of other details to help you make better decisions from your search.
Lior Ron, senior product manager for the Place Page team, noted:
"A Place Page is a Web page for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. By every place, we really mean *every* place -- there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world."
Here's an example:
Clicking on the more info tab in the bubble (or in the more info button next to the search result listing) gives me this full Web page of info:
In addition to links for directions and details on the restaurant, this Place Page delivers ratings and reviews, other Web pages, and a new Related Maps link on the query:
You could access many of these details with the old info window pop-up. But with Place Pages Google now renders info more conveniently on one page. Here's another key difference: sponsored link ads are featured prominently on the right.
Google's logic is that the more info it produces on a Web page, the longer users will stay there. The longer users stay on a Web page, the greater the chance they will click on relevant ads.
Google wants there to be a Place Page for every place in the world, so it invites business owners to add or update their business details through the Local Business Center.