Place Search: a faster, easier way to find local information

Saturday, October 30, 2010 | 10:55 AM

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I love to discover new places, from sandwich shops in my neighborhood to great museums around the globe. When I start looking for something in a new area, like a barbecue restaurant in Sydney, I usually do quite a few searches. I might search for a list of restaurants and then search for details about each place, like which one has the best atmosphere and menu options.

Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organises the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go. Say you’re looking for that great barbecue restaurant. With Place Search here’s what you’ll get:

The new results are marked with red pins, and each one is a unique restaurant with relevant information and reviews from across the web. The information is now grouped conveniently to make it easier to digest and compare.

Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information. In addition, you’ll find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page so you can switch to these results whenever you want. For example, when I’m in Melbourne, I love to go out for sushi, but a search for [sushi] doesn’t automatically show me Place Search results. If I click “Places” I get the new view:

We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.

One of the great things about our approach is that it makes it easier to find a comprehensive view of each place. In our new layout you’ll find many more relevant links on a single results page—often 30 or 40. Instead of doing eight or 10 searches, often you’ll get to the sites you’re looking for with just one search. In our testing, Place Search saves people an average of two seconds on searches for local information.

Place Search is rolling out now and will be available globally in more than 40 languages in the next few days. During the roll-out process you can use this special link to preview the new results. Our goal is to help you feel like a local everywhere you go!