It might seem strange to consider it news that Google is taking its local search offerings local, but as Frank Reed put it, they’re putting a human face on it.
One interesting thing that Frank brings out in this article, and if you perform a lot of local searches you probably already were aware of this, is that you don’t have to add a local qualifier with certain search terms like “pizza” and “movie theaters.” Google does that automatically for you based on your IP address, or based on your personalized settings if you are a user of Google’s personalized search features.
I’m pretty certain, and I’m sure Frank would agree, that Google Places will be the main focus on Google’s local efforts far into the future. No matter what innovations the search engine introduces, it will likely involve Google Places in some way.
This is why I think the No. 1 most important thing for any local small business to do is to claim their listing in Google Places (and in Bing’s and Yahoo!’s local directories as well). That should be your starting place for online local marketing.
I’m with Frank on one thing. I’m anxious to see what Google is going to do with local search marketing based on this effort to “reach out” to small businesses.”