Google Revamps Mobile Local Search Experience
Google has launched a new version of local search for mobile. This version heavily utilizes Google Maps to make organization of results easier on your phone.
The new local search for mobile lets you find business listings on Google Maps while you’re on your computer, where you can "star" them. Once you star them, you can easily find your starred listings grouped together from your phone, making it easy to keep the listings you need while you’re out, together. This can potentially make errand running a lot easier, as demonstrated in the video below.
This could be incredibly useful for traveling as well. As Google’s Mobile Local Search Product Manager Joshua Siegel explains, "Before I left, I researched places to visit on Google Maps. I signed in to my Google account and starred the places I wanted to go. Once I got to Hawaii, by signing in on my phone, I was able to see the places I starred on desktop Maps under "Starred Places". I could then click through on place names to visit mobile-optimized versions of Place Pages for Google Maps that include opening hours, reviews, photos, and more."
It appears that the real plan for Google Place Pages has been revealed. They certainly would fall into the better user experience category when you think about mobile browsing, which is increasing rapidly. These pages have been the subject of some controversy, in that they can possibly dissuade people from going to actual business websites, but there’s no question that they would be useful to users in scenarios like this.
Another feature of the new local search for mobile is the ability to browse categories. This reduces the amount of typing you have to do on your phone, which is always a good thing. You can just browse through categories like restaurants, shopping, lodging, etc.
To use the new local search features, just go to google.com/m/local or click the local tab on google.com. Right now, the new local search for mobile is only available in the United States and China, but the company says more regions will be on the way soon.