Google’s Local Search Goes Beta

  |  March 24, 2004   |  Comments

No ads... yet.

Google officially moved local search out of Google labs and into beta last week. Several noteworthy new features were added to the mix.

Google’s approach to local search involves using yellow-page and business-directory information from third-party providers, integrating it with information about individual businesses from Google’s main Web page index. Though the service is still in beta, Google has promoted it from its relatively obscure location in Google Labs to its own Local Search URL.

"This is a significant upgrade from what we had on labs," said Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer Web products. "More importantly, we’ve done a nice integration across several sources."

Mayer declined to name the third-party sources used by Google. The key difference between Google and other local search offerings, such as those provided by online yellow pages, is Google incorporates additional information beyond basic business listings into its search results.

This additional information includes content appearing on businesses’ Web sites. Mayer says including this information in the past was difficult, partly because content published on the Web isn’t as clean as that included in structured services such as yellow pages or directories.

"We’re ripping through the Web looking largely at addresses and phone numbers," she said. "We’re also cross-correlating that with yellow pages and directory listings."

When you search directly from the new local search form, results are displayed in three columns, including business name, address, and related Web pages. Clicking on the link to a business name displays a business reference page with details about the business, a map, a button to get driving directions, and Web pages related to the business found in Google’s main index.

Related pages gleaned from the Web include content such as reviews, commentary, and other information produced by the Web community.

"To my knowledge, this doesn’t exist anywhere else on the Web," said Mayer. "You can not only see the businesses, but also what everyone else is saying about the business."

Local search is also integrated into the main Google search box. If Google detects your query has local intent, you’ll see three local search results, at the top of the page, with a link to additional local results for your query.

Mayer says Google has also added content about noncommercial local attractions, such as parks, recreation centers, and other community landmarks.

Google’s local search is launching initially without advertising, but Mayer says the company plans to integrate advertising in the near term.

"We feel that advertising is a really important part of the local search experience," she said. "In particular an advertisement for the dry cleaner down the street is really important."

The new service also offers a degree of personalization, allowing users to specify a home location, which is stored on a cookie set by Google. The home location makes it easy to get things like one-click driving directions to a particular business, according to Mayer.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Sherman

In addition to being Associate Editor of ClickZ's sister publication, SearchDay.com, Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to Online Magazine, EContent, Information Today and other information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Search newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Creative Project Manager
      Creative Project Manager (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreThe Creative Project Manager of PubSVS will work directly with the IRIS team and will be responsible...
    • Digital Marketing Associate
      Digital Marketing Associate (Connections Media) - Washington, DCConnections Media, LLC, a Washington, DC-based digital agency providing strategy...
    • Digital Marketing Specialist
      Digital Marketing Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead...