Google Local Enhancements
March 3, 2005
Today, Google announced enhancements to Google Local, including the integration of Google Maps. In addition, Google Local now also offers reviews of businesses and additional information about establishments such as hours of operation, payment types accepted, WiFi availability, restaurant menus, hotel amenities and more.
The new reviews are pulled from numerous sources across the web. Google Local ranks reviews by their relevance to the user’s original query. Therefore, a user searching for "romantic hotel" would see different reviews from a user searching for "inexpensive hotel." Google Local also color codes reviews to help users quickly pick the cheers from the jeers.
Google Maps is a dynamic online mapping feature that enables users in the U.S. and Canada to find location information, navigate through maps, and get directions quickly and easily. Images showing users business locations and directions provided by Google Maps are now available on Google Local search results and business detail pages. In addition, Google Maps offers users:
- Easy navigation – Users can drag the map to view the adjacent parts of a map without re-loading the page.
- Turn-by-turn directions – Users may type in an address and Google Maps plots a route, displaying it visually on the map itself, together with step-by-step directions for getting there (or back from there). When users click on one of these steps, they will see a magnified view of the area mentioned in the directions.
- Business locations – Users see where businesses in Google Local search results are on a map and in relation to each other.
Google Maps also recently launched support for Opera and Safari browsers.
By combining traditional business listings with relevant information from Googles 8 billion page web index, Google Local delivers local information that matches a user’s interest. This information is complemented by relevant advertising that can be targeted to reach customers in specific regions, cities or neighborhoods through local targeting features that are integrated directly into the Google AdWords advertising program.
Google is encouraging user feedback as we continue to add new features and refine the current offering.