Google has launched Place Search, a new feature which produces results based solely around locations, in a bid to make its search offering more 'local'.
From today onwards, Google users can search for an activity in a certain place, or a type of restaurant, for example Chinese in London and the list of results will show all the places in that location which match the search criterion in a new clustered fashion.
As well as the usual linear list of search results, a Google map will also appear, with a series of red pins, showing the results on a map, and a user can click on the list of displayed review sites, such as tripadvisor.com, to find out which result suits them best.
Place Search groups the results, map and reviews sites in a new way.
Jackie Bavaro, Place Search’s product manager, wrote on the Google blog: “Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world's information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go…
"Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information."
She added: “In addition, you’ll find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page so you can switch to these results whenever you want. For example, when I’m in New York, I love to go out and play foosball, but a search for [foosball] doesn’t automatically show me Place Search results. If I click “Places” I get the new view.
“We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations.
"We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”
The global roll-out of the new tool is happening over the next few days and will be available in more than 40 languages.
Google is prioritising location-based services, having just moved Marissa Mayer, its high-flying head of search, into a new role, which focuses on developing such local products.
The search giant is putting more focus on location services and local businesses, in an attempt to grow its revenue beyond its search advertising model.
Location-based services, such as Foursquare and the recently launched Facebook Places, have come to the fore in the last 12 months, as technology companies try to tap into the value of real-time, locally served advertising, made possible by smart devices.