Thursday, May 17, 2007
You've probably heard Google's big announcement about Universal search. As part of this, when you search for local businesses on Google.com, listings from Google Maps are now blended into the results page. These listings may appear at the top, middle, or bottom of the page based on their relevance compared to the other web results.
Previously we only showed local listings at the top of the results page, and since this was prime real estate, we would not display the listings if we were not certain that you were looking for a local business. Within the Universal search framework, we are now able to more smartly handle ambiguous queries. For example, for the query [san francisco bar] we can now satisfy users who are looking for the website of the Bar Association of San Francisco as well as those looking for a local place to get a drink.
Additionally, when you do click through to see more local business results from Universal search, you will see a new "Text View" that highlights information such as photos, reviews, and restaurant menus to help you get an impression of the businesses before you visit. You can of course switch over to the familiar "Map View" if you want to explore the neighborhood.
We're excited about this first step in the integration of local results in Universal search and will continue to let you know about developments in this area over the coming months.