Google Searches – Local Intent Update

by admin on December 1, 2012

In 2010 Google estimated that 1 out of 5 searches have local intent – that is, about 20% of all searches on Google are looking for something region, city or even neighborhood specific. The latest data in November 2012 according to Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist at Google, indicates that 1 in 3 searches have local intent. We’re not sure whether this figure changed because the percentage of consumers looking for local information has increased or that the algorithm to detect local intent has improved. Likely it’s a bit of both.

The important part is that the number of local searches are going up and Google is constantly adding new programs (as well as improving existing ones) to cater to this increasing demographic. Watch the full presentation by Mr. Parsons regarding the past and future of Google Maps below:

The key takeaways from this presentation include:

  • In 2004 Google used a third party company (MapQuest) to display maps, and local information can only be accessed if you visited Google Local, which was a section of Google separate from its main search engine. Now in late 2012 Google has its own proprietary map system that is seamlessly integrated with search.
  • In 2005 Google had mapped 22 countries. Now in late 2012 there is detailed map data for 187 countries.
  • Besides aerial map data, Google has also been gathering ground photos to provide intimate, closeup imagery (street view) that accompanies their maps.
  • Google is experimenting with mapping indoor spaces, such as the inside of malls and large department stores.

In short, Google has a huge team intently focused on geo-targeted applications that local business owners can benefit from in the future.

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