I have previously noted the growth of “near me” and “near by” in mobile search.
With the advent of mobile computing those phrases have moved rapidly into the search lexicon among phone searches.
In a recent article at Think With Google, Matt Lawson noted: Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014.. The article also noted that these types of searches were more common amongst travelers, more frequent on weekends and frequently focused on restaurant and food related searches.
Clearly these types of searches occur in some vertical more than others but the “near me” really mirrors the growth of smart phones. I created a GIF from Google Trends that shows the spread of the use of Near Me over the past 5 years:
(click to view larger)Growth in the Use of "Near Me" in Searches by Mike Blumenthal