Google launched a new feature to their regular search results: Google Place Search
Basically what it does is that it moves the Google Map displayed when search local targeted keywords to the right column (where Sponsored Links usually go). The A, B, C pin point still show up on the left hand side but much bigger and only 4 or 5 “regular” organic listings are being displayed below the list. The Google map floats down as you scroll down, covering up the Google Adword listings.
Read more about it on the Official Google Blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/place-search-faster-easier-way-to-find.html
See some screenshots of some results displayed under the new Google Place Search Feature:
Why are they launching Google Place Search?
I’m not quite sure what the point is but I’m not a big fan of the new display. My first thoughts were that it would encourage people to go to the second page as there are only 5 organic results left on the first page, allowing Google to show more Adword listings and make their Cost-Per-Click program more attractive. However, the fact that the floating maps covers up the Sponsored links goes against that idea. I am aware that they have been trying to push local results a lot via search suggestions and ip detection, web history and so on but that’s a big step. A much bigger step. They spent all that time and money on Google Street view that they might want to take advantage of it more.
Questions asked out there are:
- Is this going to be permanent or is it just an experiment?
- How is that going to affect SEO strategies?
- How is that going to affect Google Adword Strategies?
According to the Google Blog post: they will roll out Google Place Search in the next few days in 40 different languages. I am anxious to see if Google Place Search will be as big of a flop as Google Wave was.