Google has released what is called the "Near me Now" feature for the iPhone and Android browser. The feature shows nearby businesses by category based on the user’s location.
"’Near me now’ was designed to address two user problems," explains Google’s Mobile team. "First, we wanted to make it fast and easy to find out more about a place in your immediate vicinity, whether you’re standing right in front of a business or if it’s just a short walk away. For example, you may want to know what other customers think about a restaurant before you go inside (see quick video below) or what they have been raving about on the menu before you order. By selecting the ‘Explore right here’ option, you can find out more about a place ‘right here’ with just a few clicks."
The restaurant example is illustrated in the following clip:
"Second, we wanted to make searching for popular categories of nearby places really simple," the team adds. "Imagine that you emerge from the subway station and you want to grab a coffee, but you don’t see a coffee shop around you. You can simply search for all nearby coffee shops by using ‘Near me now’. To search other categories of places not shown, ‘Browse more categories’ provides access to our local search product with more category choices."
The feature is available in the US only at this point. It works for iPhone (OS 3.x) or Android-powered devices with version 2.0.1 and up. Users have to enable their location for the feature to even appear.