Google Places – a New Kind of Search

In an attempt to improve, evolve and keep its prominence as the leading search engine, Google has launched, last September, a new service called Goggle Places, an improvement on Goggle’s Business Center.

Millions of people search Google every day, and the wealth of information is staggering. To minimize frustration and provide a better service that can be monetized, Google Places will now help you find places in the real world and display them with a tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.

With a listing of 50 million places around the world Google helps people find a localized place; from restaurants and hotels to car repair shops and dry cleaners. According to Google, local search amount to 20% of all searches being done.

If Google thinks the query is about a place, it automatically chooses the Place search, rather than a general web search.  It shows a new kind of search result that replaces a list of links with a list of mini-pages for the businesses in the area, with a map, an address and phone number. The mini-profile also contains a photo of the establishment and snippet from a typical review.

It already lists non-business places such as museums, parks and schools in 50 million locations.

As for the merchants, it opens up a new advertising venue. For $25 a month, local businesses can buy “tags” which will make their listing appear in Google Places more prominently.

Businesses are able to add pictures, and add real-time updates. They can define the area they operate in, schedule a photo shoot for a better picture and will be able, very soon, to add coupons and special promotions to be displayed on the search result.

Customers can print out custom QR codes which are readable by cell phones with cameras and QR readers that will pop up in a mobile version of their Google Place page.

It’s a win-win situation, Google says. Google is helping people make more informed decisions about where to go, in a shorter amount of time. Local businesses can receive bigger, better and quicker exposure with a relatively small price tag.


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