I wrote two days ago about how Google was propping up Google Maps quite persistently this summer, lastly with guidance for traffic on back roads and crowd-sourced traffic conditions for mobile phone users.
Google has also given its great Street View application a lift by making it easier for smartphone users to find local businesses.
Do a search for food markets, shoe stores or almost any business, and when you click on a search result, a bubble pops up with a link to Street View. Click on this link to see a business marked with a Google Maps 3-D marker.
When you click this you'll see more details about the business you're interested in.
Moreover, as you move along the street, the marker will let you see what else is around the business. Check out the video to see how it works:
The example in the video is perfect. You find a restaurant then want to hit some bars after, you use Street View to find what's around the restaurant so you know before you have to bug the waitress or the maÃ®tre d'.
Maybe I sound like a kid here, but the 3-D marker in the demo above is so freakin' sweet. It's got a very augmented reality feel to it.
It's like you're playing some sort of virtual world video game where you get to drop a grid over a target, though instead of blowing up the store with your game controller you get to search for another business from your mobile phone.
This is the future of search for local businesses and it is very empowering. If Google keeps these Google Maps upgrades up, it won't be long before people are eschewing Yahoo or Microsoft local business searches from their mobile phones.
Read more about this on TechMeme here.