Google Places: Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried

With the rollout of the changes on the Places page and display of Local Universal results on the main search results page Google noted that going forward that they would be “Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms“. 

We had a discussion the other day postulating as to what Google Places and Maps data was “buried” and would surface. Photos, Offers/Coupon offers, videos were a common suggestions in the thread.

It seems that Google has already started down the path of more widely disseminating Offers (as in free Places Coupons as opposed to daily deals) with their recently updated Shopper App on the iPhone (thanks to Jim Gianoglio of ImpactQ for the tip). The noted changes clearly focus on Offers:

Nearby offers giving users great deals around them
Map view for nearby offers
Redemption of Google Offers from your phone

Although the Shopper app is probably makes these free coupons only slightly more visible than they are now it is a step…

It hadn’t occurred to me that another one of the great resources hidden in Maps is the massive amounts of Streetview data but it obviously had to Google. Regular reader Plamen sent along this screen shot of Google testing the integration of Streetview into a Local Onebox in the main search results:

As Google noted in their post:

Beyond today’s transition, our long-term vision for local search includes:

  • Bringing you more personalized results when you search for local places — because we understand that information from the people you know is most meaningful;
  • Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms;
  • Giving you more ways to rate, discover and share places you love faster and easier than ever, wherever you are, and on whichever device you choose.

There have been lots of changes in the nearly two years since Place pages were introduced, and because there’s always more room for improvement, you can expect more changes to come.

Another obvious conclusion from their comments is that they are going to aggressively pursue the idea of ratings as opposed to long form reviews. Since Hotpot, this is a differentiation strategy that Google has pursued in their battle with Yelp. Whether it is enough for them to “win” is unclear but it has clearly put them back in a game that they were sorely losing. I wonder how they will make ratings easier than they currently are.

I also continue to be curious what you think are other ways that these future visions will play out….

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places: Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried by

11 thoughts on “Google Places: Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried”

  1. Did you happen to note that Places is now importing/displaying images from 3rd party sites, in addition to the max 10 that can be uploaded directly…I have seen as many as 25 displayed…..not sure if this will apply to vid’s as well….

  2. @Dan

    They may be upping the ante on 3rd party photos but have been including them for quite some time

  3. Thanks for mentioning my name again. IMO the next thing that Google will change (or should change) is the admin panel. One serious product like local listing deserves better analytics and “advanced” options like “Open 24 hours”, multiple pictures upload, the ability to select which photo will be your logo and what video to appear in the page.

  4. This new local “update” by Google also removed sites with a PO box address rather than a physical address. For years PO box addresses were allowed.

  5. Hi Mike. Agree there have been tons of things flying under the radar with Places over the past few months but this past week especially. Nice to see the pictures back and the street view is a great innovation. Google definitely needs our help letting all the business owners know about this value! They could never hire a big enough sales team to keep up.

  6. Interesting. Haven’t seen the streetview photos show up in search here yet, but am noticing today that one-box search reults are now showing 3 photos instead of just one. Maybe G defaults to streetview if there are no other images to choose from on the place page?

  7. Hi Mike, i think you’re right about a possible favouring of ratings over long reviews. Much easier to assess a graphic showing average star ratings for specific services than trawl down a series of badly written reviews. I suspect they will transfer the current mobile places app happy and sad faces for service and value for money to make reviewing accessible to all.

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