Google Places is Integrating some of the great information

With the rollout of the changes on the Places page and display of Local Universal results on the main search results page Google noted that going forward that they would be “Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms“.

We had a discussion the other day postulating as to what Google Places and Maps data was “buried” and would surface. Photos, Offers/Coupon offers, videos were a common suggestions in the thread.

It seems that Google has already started down the path of more widely disseminating Offers (as in free Places Coupons as opposed to daily deals) with their recently updated Shopper App on the iPhone (thanks to Jim Gianoglio of ImpactQ for the tip). The noted changes clearly focus on Offers:

Nearby offers giving users great deals around them

Map view for nearby offers

Redemption of Google Offers from your phone

Although the Shopper app is probably makes these free coupons only slightly more visible than they are now it is a step…

It hadn’t occurred to me that another one of the great resources hidden in Maps is the massive amounts of Streetview data but it obviously had to Google. Regular reader Plamen sent along this screen shot of Google testing the integration of Streetview into a Local Onebox in the main search results:

As Google noted in their post:

Beyond today’s transition, our long-term vision for local search includes:

  • Bringing you more personalized results when you search for local places — because we understand that information from the people you know is most meaningful;
  • Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms;
  • Giving you more ways to rate, discover and share places you love faster and easier than ever, wherever you are, and on whichever device you choose.

There have been lots of changes in the nearly two years since Place pages were introduced, and because there’s always more room for improvement, you can expect more changes to come.

Another obvious conclusion from their comments is that they are going to aggressively pursue the idea of ratings as opposed to long form reviews. Since Hotpot, this is a differentiation strategy that Google has pursued in their battle with Yelp. Whether it is enough for them to “win” is unclear but it has clearly put them back in a game that they were sorely losing. I wonder how they will make ratings easier than they currently are.

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