Local search is quickly turning into the first place that people go when they search for information online. In fact, it is impacting users so much that search veteran Bruce Clay actually predicted that Google would become a local search engine. He said this to us back in November, "Two years from now, Google will be, predominantly, a local search engine."
Do you agree with Clay's prediction about Google turning into a local search engine? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Aside from Google's efforts in local search, there are several other local search engines that are stepping up their game in the local arena as well. Leading local search engine Local.com recently made several announcements to show just how serious it is about consumers and merchants on a local level.
For starters, the company announced a daily deals service called Spreebird. The new deals offering has its own deals just as Groupon and LivingSocial do, but it also serves as an aggregator of deals. Malcolm Lewis, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Social Buying, told WebProNews that it was a "hybrid" product since it both sources its own deals and aggregates others.
"We want to establish Spreebird as the preferred destination, preferred getaway, for folks nationwide to discover and consume daily deals," he said.
Since the local daily deals space is getting rather crowded, we asked Lewis how Local.com would stand out against all the competition. According to him, Local.com has more to offer than other services. First of all, Local.com offers a complete suite of tools for local merchants ranging from deals to ad products. In addition, he points out that Local.com is a public company, which is not the case with many of the other companies. As a result, he said local merchants don't have to worry about whether it will be around in 6 months.
Another way Spreebird plans to differentiate itself from other services is by utilizing personalization so users can customize their deals. As Lewis explained, this approach creates a very social and personal experience.
"We're going to develop the broadest, deepest selection of deals available online, and then we're going to use personalization techniques where we build up a taste and interest profile for folks," he said.
Although Spreebird launched with availability in Denver, Philadelphia, and Orange County, Local.com is planning to add it to 17 more markets by the end of the year. Also, the company plans to release iPhone and Android apps by the end of this quarter.
As we mentioned earlier, Local.com also announced the acquisition of Krillion. The company will integrate the location-based shopping data from Krillion into its shopping experience. It gives shoppers real-time pricing information, a discounts alert engine, and the ability to compare nearby products. Krillion also brings product normalization to the table, which means it can recognize the same product at different physical locations.
Rajan Mohan, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Owned and Operated at Local.com, told WebProNews that both of these recent moves are natural extensions of the company's overall goal.
"Going back to the core mission of Local.com - it is to efficiently connect local businesses and consumers and so both of these businesses are very effective ways for merchants and retailers to connect with consumers," he said.
Last but not least, Local.com talked to us about its acquisition of advertising company Rovion. Because Rovion shows consumers what products are available in real-time, Local.com plans to use it to make display ads very relevant to local audiences.