Google’s Big Local Push Set in Motion

Google, in an attempt to raise the profile of its Google+ network, is phasing out Places and introducing Local, a listings search system for businesses.

Google+ Local, which was announced last week, will contain location descriptions, photos, and Zagat reviews.

User-generated reviews can be seen on the new platform as well, according to Brafton. The listings will be available on the Google+ sidebar, where they’ll be categorized by industry.

Google+ Local is just the first step in the search engine’s plan to break into the small business market, which is estimated at $20 billion, writes the Wall Street Journal. The company will be introducing a service, formerly called Business Builder, this summer, perhaps as soon as July.

Google’s main motivation is to get store owners to purchase digital advertising on its search engine, according to the WSJ, writing that “20 percent of searches are for local information.”

The new service also aims to have customers using their smartphones “like a digital wallet, earning loyalty points and making payments at stores that sign up for Google’s new services.”

Two specific services that Google plans to unveil are TalkBin, where customers can anonymously text message store owners with comments or concerns, and Punchd, where people can utilize their smart phones to earn coupons for businesses.

With these up and coming services, along with already existing marketing tools, local businesses are getting a boost to their online presence.

Tags: , , ,