Tags lets local businesses pay $25 a month to add little yellow callouts to their listings in search results on Google Maps. The tag spotlights coupons, videos, Websites, menus or even custom messages to lure consumers.
This is another way to surface sponsored links, boosting visibility for mom and pop shops and padding Google's considerable ad coffers.
When Google unveiled Tags in April, the search engine cautiously dipped its toe in this new water by rolling it out in Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; Houston; and San Jose, Calif.
A week later the feature joined Google Maps in Chicago; San Diego; Seattle; Boulder, Colo.; and San Francisco. That was still only 11 cities in the United States.
I scoffed at this limited launch at the time, but obviously Tags have proved viable enough to warrant expansion.
Google said the nationwide rollout will start with states where Google already had tags available in select cities.
Moreover, Google added Posts, which lets business owners create custom messages, and tags for mobile Web searches from users' smartphones, which is a big deal for those stranger-in-a-strange-land scenarios, or just city residents on the go:
In another example, users who search for "massage houston," will see that two of the businesses whose listings appear have created coupon tags to promote their current offers:
Clicking on the tag gives me this coupon:
Note Google's own ad for its Coupons iGoogle gadget to the right. SearchEngineLand discusses Tags, too, here.
It will be interesting to see how Google advertisers take to this program over time. Google is not likely to quote figures, but I'll be checking with them periodically to see how the program is faring.
Are you using Tags, or have you spotted any in search results? Drop me a line, or better, send me a screenshot. Thanks!