Despite the early rough sledding for the Nexus One device, Google is moving on and making improvements to local search on your mobile device. Recently the “Near me now” feature was added which helps users learn what kind of products and services are within striking distance of their current location. While not as sexy yesterday Google announced that it is offering optimized search suggestions for your mobile searching pleasure. Google feels your pain of trying to type so much on such little keyboards I guess.
At this time these features will be available only on Android and iPhone devices. If you are a Blackberry user are you seeing a recurring theme on this one? For the folks at RIM they better get their ‘you know what’ in gear or else this train is leaving the station for good. That’s for another post though. The official Google Mobile Blog tells us
For example, when users in the Boston metro area begin typing “Muse”, suggestions such as “museum of science boston” and “museum of fine arts boston” are provided because people near Boston frequently look for these very popular museums. On the other hand, users in San Francisco who begin their query with “Muse” will see suggestions for museums in the San Francisco area. By using the device’s current or most recent location, Google is able to offer even better, more useful suggestions than ever before. To try this yourself, go to google.com on your phone’s browser and start typing a query to see the new location-optimized suggestions. Make sure you have turned on “Save recent locations” and “Allow use of device location” under the Settings link on the google.com home page.
Here’s what it looks like.
As with many of these services I suspect that they work best in the larger metro areas although that is not stated in any of the Google propaganda. I say this because when I try the service in my little suburb of Raleigh, NC my suggestions are a little bit less than ‘optimized’. I will remain patient though!
So what do you think? Is this a time saver? Is it an ‘innovation’ or does it rate a ‘It’s about time!’ ? It’s Friday, chime in and let us know your thoughts before you check out for the weekend.