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.

Google Pushing HotPot to the Big Leagues

Google announced last night that Hotpot friend recommendations are now showing on the main Google search results in the 7-pack. They are also showing in the local organic blended results and branded searches.

Google is working on social tools on a number of fronts more or less successfully. You can never count them out though when they are willing to bring the full weight of the front page of Google to the game.

It appears to me that eating, reviews and ratings are where they are really where they are making a stand and to do so they are driving traffic to Hotpot. Hotpot previously has been highlighted in Maps, Places and mobile.

What better way to incent Hotpot users than to show them, front and center, where their friends ate. What better way to create more Hotpot engagement and traffic than showing it on the front page of Google. Let the ego games begin.

Here is a screen shot of a branded Local Universal result where you can see the inclusion of Hotpot ratings:

Related posts:

  1. Google Hotpot – Yelp Meets Netflix in a Local Recommendation Engine
  2. Google Hotpot Recommendations Now Surfacing on Places Page and Maps
  3. Google Places: Are Ratings the New Reviews?