Google Local has been on a tear lately with tests being reported on a regular, almost daily basis. Two that really caught my eye were local restaurant results found by Sergey Alakov and the other by Kevin Indig (h/t Megan Hannay).
These many tests are a testament to Google’s continual effort to gain audience and more importantly, keep that audience at Google long enough to complete a transaction. From Google’s POV, the transaction will hopefully be monetized but if not then one that further leverages Google resources to gather data and user time like a click to call or driving directions.
Google has been actively collecting and collating attributes about all sorts of businesses but particularly restaurants. These have largely been buried in the depths of the Knowledge Panel and few clicks away from the front page.
These new visual attribute representations are front and center and colorful. According to Sergey he has seen as many as eight showing at once in the Knowledge Panel.
More transactional but equally interesting is Google showing a “reservation answerbox” on the desktip that allows for a table booking directly with OpenTable.
Google Local Restaurant Tests: Reservation Answer Box & Visual Attributes by Mike Blumenthal