Blurred Edges: Where Does Local End and Social Begin?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Phil Britton

Google is customizing your local search experience. It’s easy to anecdotally speak to the fact that Google is taking a much more aggressive approach to location-based services.  From peripheral products, like Google Buzz and Google Latitude to the rapidly changing Google Places, a lot of development and resources are going into expanding the solutions Google offers to satisfy the local needs of the searcher.

Where you are, and what is local to you, is now a major factor of consideration in what you will see and how you will see it. DAC has consistently believed in the local search model, but now the ‘Places’ pages are taking things to another level.  Not only do you need to control what information is associated with your online business listings, but you need to monitor and manage what people are saying about your business.

Here is a quick look at the newly launched Google Places with hotpot, this mashup ‘recommendation engine’ will aggregate reviews, primarily from sources like Yelp. With developments like this, the lines between search and social are getting more blurry everyday.  Google is continuing to innovate, while Facebook very publicly makes releases (which are still very meaningful), however Google is continuing to venture deeper into the ultimate goal… full life integration.

Here’s a great example of what I mean: Google Mobile Payments. My point is, the sooner you can get along with Google, the less likely you’ll be looking for a DeLorean when they rule the world. But seriously, at the end of the day Google’s primary goal is to satisfy a searchers needs/wants, which should be the primary goal of most businesses.

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