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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Is Siri Sick (of Local Search)?

Siri has been making lots of stupid mistakes lately in local search. Mistakes that it’s younger sibling, Apple Maps, is not making. These are simple mistakes that were not there when Siri was the only game in town. Is she just looking for some more attention? Is she thinking of heading in some new direction or is Apple Maps just sending her the wrong way?

Here are two example searches that return totally crazy results that Apple Maps gets essentially correct.

Note that Siri can not even find one jeweler in or near Williamsville and returns results that are 26 miles away while Apple Maps returns relevant results:

(click to view larger)

I have found these types of results to be fairly widespread while I was traveling last week. Here is another example (Hotels Allegany NY) :

Functionally these hotel results are even worse as the Burton is a bar not a hotel (as far as I know although this classification error is one that Google makes as well). Siri shows the nearest other hotel as 14 miles away while in fact there are 6 or 7 branded national chains just down the road. Many of those are also in Allegany.

The errors are of both geography and distance. In situations where Apple Maps (and Localeze & Yelp) know of many nearby businesses Siri can’t find anything with 15 miles or 20 miles.

Siri has never been a great interface for local search. It would return a list of results that once you left you couldn’t go back to without regenerating the search. But these results, which I first noticed in NYC last week are totally whacked out and fairly widespread.

Is this Siri’s cry for help or did Apple decide to save costs by not licensing business data for both Siri AND Apple Maps?