Google Mobile Search Goes Local

If you’ve ever used search on your mobile phone to find something nearby while you’re out and about, chances are the process was a pain. Google’s looking to cash in on the power of combining location-based search with a mobile device, and their latest mobile search update is a start at doing just that.

Yesterday, Google rolled out the mobile search update which adds location-based search (see the official Google blog post here). Type a query into from either an Android device or the iPhone and Google will now show you results based on your current (or previously logged) location.

Google’s trying to give relevant results by sorting potential matches based on how often they are searched for by other users. As CNET puts it, “Google makes mobile search suggestions a popularity contest.” Adding the location-based feature not only makes Google search more useful in the context of a mobile phone, it also gives Google the power to start targeting local businesses advertising via search. Given that Google has the luxury of being the largest search engine, they have a lot of potential to use innovative mobile advertising based on location and grow their business even larger.

In Google’s blog post, they give an example of a user who starts to type int he word “museum” by typing in “muse.” The first suggestion that pops up if you’re in San Francisco will be “museums in san francisco.” In Boston, the same query will display “museum of science in boston” first. If you want to try it out, Google notes that you have to refresh in your phone browser to see the new optimized suggestions.