Google “Enhances” Local Search

Word from the Googleplex today that they’ve added some new features to Google Local. What’s New?
+ Enhanced user interface – a new, cleaner design that now includes maps on results pages displaying the location of businesses in the search results

Note: Yahoo Local launched with this feature.

+ New mapping capabilities – users can now zoom and pan different directions on the maps without reloading the page

Note: Yahoo Local also offers this feature. I also like that the size of the maps are a bit larger than with Google’s service.

+ Improved comprehensiveness – search results provide links to even more web pages like business homepages and related ratings and reviews

We will have to run some tests to see.

+ More relevant results – improved relevance technology returns even more precise results

Hmmm. When I search with my local Zip Code for lawyers, the first results all come from outside of my area. When I search for attorneys , I receive a completely different and a much better list of results.
This type of synonym problem seems to still be an issue with Google Local. It should be fixed. Another example TV repair vs. television repair. I’ve tested several other issues when Google Local first launched and several still exist. Here are a few.

+ Movie Theatres Chicago, IL
The first six theatres listed do not show movies. Limiting results bu clicking the “Amusement & Recreation – Theatres – Movie” category doesn’t help.
+ Gas Stations Louisville CO
One entry I found was for the National Lightning Safety Institute?
+ Cell Phones 20901 (five mile radius)–One of the entries is for a financial services company. Another is for a liquor store. The same search on Yahoo Local returns much better results.

Just for fun. Google Local is still able to find Osama Bin Laden working at different places throughout America. (-: In DC, he works at the Federal Election Commission. In Las Vegas he’s working at a car rental office.

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