New Google Feature: Google Place Search

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:

Google Place Search - Top screen

Google Place Search - Top screen

Google Place Search - Lower screen

Google Place Search - Lower screen

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.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the new changes or not? Will that affect the way you do SEO?

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3 Responses to “New Google Feature: Google Place Search”

  1. Kyle says:

    It will be interesting to see how the new Google local search results pages influence click-through rates. It looks like they are opening up new space for Google Boost ads which will be launching in Canada soon.

    I personally like the new listings and it looks like they have also updated the rankings to favour companies that have more optimized listings, which is good for everyone.

    • Ju2 says:

      Thank you Kyle for your comment. I do agree with you when you say that it will interesting to see the influence with the click-through rates in the next couple weeks.

      For those who don’t know it yet, here is what Google Boost is.

      I personally prefer this option that highlights some listings as I am still quite doubtful regarding the new Google Search Places released yesterday.

    • Julien Simon says:

      Me too – I believe the google map listings will get much higher click throughs now.
      Also, we noticed that queries done without a location in the keywords still pull out the new format based on the ip address of the computer so it will reduce the traffic for websites optimized just for these types of keywords.
      I don’t really like the new look because it looks more stretched and messy. I liked the compact version better.

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