Google showcases local businesses in a new 'place'

October 27, 2010 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Google Inc., world's most popular search engine, started rolling out a new way to show information about local businesses on Wednesday.

When Google detects that a search is for merchants or things to do in a specific city, it will now devote the entire results page to key data about the places mentioned in the request. For example, a query such as "San Francisco Mexican restaurants" might produce an entire page of results listing different places to eat, accompanied by a map, phone numbers, addresses and reviews.

Google traditionally has presented information about similar merchants in the same city over several pages. The company's engineers recognized this scattershot approach was frustrating users and making them do multiple searches.

The new system will begin affecting results Wednesday, although it could take several days before the new "Place Search" feature is available throughout the world. Google has sifted through hundreds of millions of Web pages to compile information about more than 50 million different locations.

Google expects the new feature to become a cornerstone of its service because more than 20 percent of its search requests include something about a particular location. When Google doesn't automatically detect a request is about a particular location, users will be able to re-focus the results by clicking on a "Places" link on the left side of the page.

Place Search is another example of how Google is taking what it has learned about its users' interests and desires to build features that attempt to anticipate what they want to know. Last month, it introduced "Instant Search" that shows results that change with each character typed into a request.

Google also is trying to boost revenue from local advertisers. If Place Search brings more people to Google, it will probably be able to persuade more small businesses to buy ads next to the results. In another move to attract more local advertisers, Google is testing a service called "Boost" that allows merchants to include more information about themselves in their commercial messages.

Explore further: Google draws upon rival ideas with search changes


Related Stories

Google draws upon rival ideas with search changes

March 24, 2009

(AP) -- Google Inc. prides itself on setting trends, but it appears to be copying some of its smaller rivals with the latest refinements to the way it displays Internet search results.

Yahoo searching for ways to show fewer Web links

May 20, 2009

(AP) -- Yahoo Inc. is pruning Web links from its Internet search results as it strives to provide more immediate gratification and lure traffic away from the market leader, Google Inc.

Texas opens inquiry into Google search rankings (Update)

September 3, 2010

(AP) -- Google Inc.'s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas' attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet's dominant search engine.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.