Category Archives: Google Places (Maps & Local)

Comments, research and information about Google Maps (Google Local)

Local Links of Interest

Ask removes search box from default mobile search

From the post:What Ask found in their user testing is that users would immediately go to the search box and start trying to use it. While this sounds like it offers what the user wants, the fact is that accomplishing simple things like finding our the weather in San Francisco can take 70 keystrokes if you are on a mobile device without a QWERTY keyboard (for example entering the letter C requires you to hit the 2 button 3 times) 

All I can say is AMEN to that. If you have never tried searching using via a WAP browser on a cell phone you should give it a try to understand why you never want to do it.

Google aims to patent payment by SMS at Electronista – Gadgets for Geeks.

Himmelstein on G’s Local Biz Referral Program – Guest columnist Marty Himmelstein at Greg Sterling’s blog has great overview of trends in local search and Google’s take on them.

Discussion of New Kelsey Mobile Numbers by Greg Sterling at And I thought it was me that couldn’t figure out the numbers…

Google Intros Search Ads on Google Mobile Search

Just received this email from Google:

Search Ads on Google Mobile Search

Hello Michael Blumenthal,

We are happy to announce a new feature that will allow you to
easily reach additional qualified customers who are searching
Google from their mobile phones.

In the next few days, your search ads will be eligible to run on
Google Mobile Search pages (like they currently do on
We are offering this feature – and any resulting clicks – for
free through November 18, so you can experiment with the rapidly
growing mobile platform while still reaching qualified customers.

Each ad’s eligibility will be determined by its landing page and
only ads with landing pages that can be adapted for viewing on
mobile browsers will be shown.  You can monitor each ad’s
performance via a special performance tracking page within your
account called “Performance Data: Search Ads on Google Mobile

Again, you will not be charged for clicks on these ads until
November 19, at which time we will begin charging the usual CPC
prices.  And as always, you may opt-out of this feature at any

We hope you find this new feature helpful and profitable, and we
urge you to learn more about it at our AdWords Help Center:

Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.


The Google AdWords Team

Local Links of Interest

In-car Google Local Search Google continues to push Maps to new platforms and venues. I see this type of market penetration as a way to achieve monopoly status ala the iPod.
Segmenting Local Mobile Search

Good article from Gerg Sterling at SearchEngineLand categorizing and documenting the fragmented nature of local mobile search. As he points out, what he calls “mobile Internet is really four separate silos that will eventually blend to varying degrees.

At this point the only players in all the silos are Google, MSN & Yahoo. With the Telcos, Ask,, Jingle and others participating in one or two categories. He points out that “we can expect to see increasing integration of the types of functionality that are currently largely separated — the blending of voice interfaces, text and WAP and, potentially, applications that come preloaded on phones (e.g., Google Maps on the iPhone).

Handheld shootout! Google Maps vs. Windows Live Search reviews two Local Mobile Apps mentioned in Greg’s article and concludes that “I’m not a big fan of Microsoft’s search offerings, but this one beats Google’s hands down. It almost makes me forget the raw coolness of Google Maps on the iPhone. Almost.”

Google makes it easier to embed Maps AND generates new Maps traffic

Google’s new upgrade to easily allow Maps to be embedded on a web page has been widely reported.

I figure the test of any new “easy to use” technology and whether it will propagate widely is the “Mike Test”. That is, if I can figure out how to use it in 5 minutes or less with minimal instructions and without calling my programmer. Google’s new embed Map feature passes that test with flying colors.

The ease with which a map and driving instructions can be added to a website will lead to a rapid adoption rate of this technology across the web on many different types of websites. (Adding custom maps is only slightly more difficult.) The result? More traffic to Google Maps. Each of these maps include upwards of 5 new links into Google Maps. The most significant of which (in terms of driving new business searches) is the “search nearby” link.

For most of last year and into January of this year, Google Maps provided little real traffic to most websites. With the advent of the Local OneBox, Google focused attention on their local data that lead to a significant increase in Maps traffic. The same seems to be true of Google Maps on the iPhone as well. Now it appears that almost every website will provide the same. (One wonders whether placing a map on a directions page will influence Map rankings in any way.)

Google has, with the flick of a technological switch, once again put in place a feature that will lead to a significant increase in Maps use. Their ability to drive this kind of traffic to their local product demonstrates why they will be so difficult to beat in the race to dominate this market.

Links of Local Interest

Google says mobile usage has surged this summer The Local OneBox has put local on the maps (so to speak). In terms of real traffic to real websites it has had a significant impact as a way to generate traffic in local and regional markets. That being said, Maps is still a poor step cousin to the organic search results. When we all have the $100 iPhone is when Maps and techniques to optimize for it will become incredibly important.

Putting Your Small Business On The Map – good ideas by Christine Churchill at SearchEngineLand.

What should Google do about Mapspam?

The recent spate of mapspam at Google left a lot of questions about the future of local:

•Will spam define local’s future?
•How should Google respond to verified reports of Mapspam?
•Is Google’s abuse reporting mechanism adequate?
•When and what technical changes will Google make to prevent future abuse?
•How can the integrity of maps data be guaranteed?
•How should the growing number of small businesses using search marketers pick the right company and interact with them?
•How effective is maps-based marketing?
•Can Google maps expand to fulfill the legitimate business need expressed in spam?

It is this last question I address at SearchEngineland: What should Google about Mapspam?

To Sphinn this article, go here: SphinnIt

Some links of interest in Local

Comparison of Google Maps on the iPhone and N95

Google Maps and the Onebox Hate Advertising Agencies!! EarlPearl has found some interesting aberant results on Google Maps at SEORefugee

Local Housing Gets OneBox Treatment from Google  Miriam has noted the replacement of the Local Onebox with GoogleBase results. This seems to be a trend in some local results that I noted last March in a different search.

comScore Introduces Expanded U.S., Global Search Measurement And Methodology by Greg Sterling at SearchEngine Land. Maybe now we can get some meaningful local numbers. This has been an area that has mostly been filled with speculation and inference.

RentaGeek responds to accusation of Mapspam

Several weeks ago, I reported on the first cases of large scale mapspam at Google Maps. It was followed up with an interesting interview with one of the companies involved. Yesterday, on the Google-Maps-For-Business-Owners blog, the other company (apparently) responded:

TOPIC: Why am I being blacklisted when I have techs in every metro area nationwide? ============================================================================== == 1 of 2 ==

Date: Tues, Aug 14 2007 4:52 pm

From: “”

Rent A Geek is a nationwide computer repair company, and has techs all over the whole United States. We had a local business listing in each city, and a couple of other business owners in the area decided to complain, most likely because they cannot compete with our rates, and Google pulled all of our ads. Why is that? If we scour the Google Local Business listing and start complaining about every one of our other competitors, is Google going to be equally as liberal in taking these peoples ads down as well? I feel that Google is being very prejudiced towards our business, and would like to know what can be done to resolve the issue?


While it is arguable that RentaGeek has a legitimate business need to promote their extensive coverage, it is hard to argue that it should be done with obviously faked addresses in every zip code and even harder to argue that Google is being prejudicial in their actions by taking them down for posting obviously wrong information.

Google offers new solution for Mapspam removal: Goodoo

From the Google Maps for Business discussion at Google Groups:

== 1 of 1 == Date: Mon, Aug 6 2007 6:01 pm

From: “Maps Guide Jen”

Hi Mike,

1)How soon can we expect to see a technological solution to this problem? Relying on vigilant readers seems to be the proverbial finger in the dam.

We’re actually working on a solution right now that isn’t just relying on the vigilance of folks such as yourself. To make the bulk upload / Local Business Center world better for everyone, I can’t really tell you anything about what we’re doing to keep these spammy listings from entering the Maps index.

2)Is there a clear statement of what is acceptable practice for bulk upload? If so where? I looked but could not find a simple summary of what was accetable practice and what wasn’t and what the consequences of unaccpetable practice would be.

No, there isn’t. We try to be nice and keep things flexible by staying out of the legal repercussions of creating a statement that would confine our users to specific uses of Google Maps. In the future, we may have to revisit the question of whether or not we need a statement such as the one you were looking for.

3)Will there be a standarized and more responsive mechanism for reporting abuse than these forums if we can expect these issues to become more prevalent?

This isn’t in the works yet, as there haven’t been enough reports to warrant one. However, if the volume continues to rise, to a point where this forum is no longer a feasible way to bring our attention to such issues, we’d definitely want to implement a better system.

4)When abuse is reported what is an appropriate timeframe to wait for a response?(I am specifically refering to the report several days ago here bulk upload abuse).

Give the guides in this group a week to get back to you. If you still don’t hear back, sacrifice a goat or vegetable of your choice. Er, I mean, write to us again :o) Cheers, Jen

Dear Jen:

I have just one more question (well maybe more than one):

In this new practice of Goodoo (those mystical steps, combining technology and ancient religious practice needed to remove mapspam or affect a change to a listing in Google Maps) is blood sacrfice permisable? What is the proper role of my Goodoo dolls of THE FOUNDERS? Is just a small pin placed into a sensitive part of their anatomy acceptable practice?