Local Search and Universal Search

Recently I was trying some searches out on Google, and I decided to try out "San Francisco Pizza". It was neat, because it came back with a nice Google map at the top of the results, as follows:

Local-SF-Pizza.jpg

So I then moved on to the next search, "Boston Pizza". The results were quite different:

Local-Boston-Pizza.jpg

During my recent visit to the Googleplex, I spoke to Carter Maslan, the Director of Product Management, for Local about this. He indicated that there are still some triggering issues with the integration with Universal Search. I believe this refers to the underlying relevance algorithm in Universal Search that weighs the relevance of search results from several vertical search properties, and then integrates those into the web search results.

For some reason the Boston local search results don't pass muster in this analysis. However, Carter also indicated that this is something that Google is working on, and you can expect to see a far greater penetration of web search results by Local search in the future.