Google have recently announced some improvements to their search results for business listings.
Searches for businesses on Google will now display Google places information within the search engine results page. These enhanced listings feature additional information to help the user understand more about a business at a glance.
The additional information includes:
Pictures of the business
Some images display the street view Pegman and link to street view results
Information about opening hours, prices and at a glance information about food, drinks selection
Reviews from third party websites like Trip Advisor
Menus if they are available
One of the features shown in Google's blog post was a 360 degree Streetview style view of the interior of a restaurant. This is reminiscent of estate agent 360 tours but a bit slicker. It seems that this feature comes from a business photos service that is currently only available in certain cities in the US, Australia and Japan.
I think it's a good move from Google as when people use specific searches in relation to a business it makes sense to provide as much information as possible to the user in as few steps as possible. I would like to see some kind of social integration in the future, such as who in my social circle +1s or comments on a restaurant or bar.
What was really interesting was the changes for more generic searches 'restaurant in location' that will display the enhanced information within the instant preview area.
It will be interesting to watch this roll-out and see if Google make use of microdata within the enhanced listings in the future.
“Of course, the local information that appears will vary depending on what’s available online”
The updates are being rolled out across local search in a number of languages in the following weeks. So what do you think about the Google Places update? Do you think it will be helpful to you? Contact us and let us know.