[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]
We on the Google Maps team are committed to organizing all the local places and businesses that can be found online, from a design shop in New York City, to an architectural bookstore in San Francisco, to a cabaret in London. To show you the range of all this interesting local information, we've teamed up with local experts around the world to share some of their favorite places.

Culinary expert and chef Alice Waters has shared her favorite places for organic and sustainable food in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including places like Blue Bottle Cafe, whose coffee Alice serves at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and Bi-Rite Creamery, where you can find salted caramel ice cream.

Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London, has shared her favorite places to experience art in London, from the Tate Modern for contemporary art to Curzon Soho cinema, where you can catch the latest independent film releases.

Vladimir Spivakov, artistic director and principal conductor of the State chamber orchestra Moscow Virtuosi and the National Philharmonic of Russia, has shared his favorite places to hear and appreciate theater and music in Moscow, from the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied, to the historic Maly Theater, the oldest theater in Moscow.

With this project we also hope to send a friendly message to local businesses — people are looking online for local information, and you should be here. Timothy Childs, Founder and Chief Chocolate Officer of TCHO in San Francisco, shares his perspective on using online tools to build and grow:

"TCHO is all about using appropriate technology, to make high quality chocolate and experiences for our customers. As our start-up moves to early growth stage, we are now using tools like Google Maps and the Local Business Center to reach customers and to continue building our business."

It's estimated that 80% of U.S. Internet users use web search to find restaurants, stores and other local businesses, and yet only about half of local businesses currently have a website. By working with local experts to highlight the power of the web, we're encouraging local business owners to build out their online presence. If you're a business owner looking to get online, have a look at the Google Local Business Center.

To browse the full collection of favorite local businesses and places, visit google.com/favoriteplaces or m.google.com/fav from your phone's browser.

Special thanks to all the participants and partners around the world who helped to make this project possible, including United Airlines, NYC & Company, Time Out and Le Figaro.