Really great to see these technologies being combined together, the result is quite beautiful. Nice work from B-Reel London.
In the search engine marketing and optimisation sector, it really does seem that change is the only constant.
In June, I wrote about the launch of Google Caffeine and the impact of social search in the marketing mix. Just four months later and Google has added another game-changing feature to their search engine results pages (SERPs), called Place Search.
As its name suggests, Place Search prioritises search results based on proximity of the website to the user’s current location, in an effort to make consumers “feel like a local everywhere [they] go”. It is very similar in concept to Yellow Pages but doesn’t require users to leave the Google homepage.
This is good news for consumers seeking local restaurants, shops, entertainment and the like, but for companies there are new challenges that come with it.
In addition to having its own dedicated category, Place Search also appears in natural results on the main SERP (in the form of business listings with reviews and a map showing result locations) when Google predicts that the user is looking for local information. But it is what that new content is replacing that is of concern.
Companies currently paying for Google AdWords to gain higher visibility on more generic search queries may find that their click-through rates suddenly take a tumble thanks to the new Places map, which is positioned in what was previously a lucrative AdWords position: the top right-hand corner.
Not only does it take a prime position, it maintains that position as the user scrolls down the page, which means significantly less visibility of company-sponsored AdWords.
It would not be far-fetched to expect AdWord costs to increase (due to the increased competition and importance of gaining the top three spots), despite a greater risk of fewer click-throughs and thus a decline in return on investment for those not appearing in the top spots.
In every challenge, there is an opportunity. In Place Search, the opportunity for companies is to raise the visibility of bricks-and-mortar stores to among 60 per cent of Australians who research online with an intent to purchase offline.
To do that, I asked one of our search experts here at Amnesia Razorfish to provide their top five tips on optimising for Place Search:
1. Get listed and be consistent: claim your free listing by providing your company details at www.google.com/places, ensuring that multiple locations each have their own profile containing the location/suburb in the Places title. Choose your categories carefully, and ensure your description is consistent across other directory listings.
2. Enrich the experience: take the opportunity to add additional information such as opening hours and rich media content (photos, YouTube videos, and so on) to your Places page; you want consumers to get a good feel for who you are and what you do.
3. Reviews: customer reviews play an important role in Place Search ranks. Ensure you have the process in place to monitor and respond to user reviews about your business.
4. Sponsored map icons: make your business stand out by investing in a personalised map icon that displays your logo.
5. AdWords ad extensions: link your Google Places listing with AdWords to enable users to see your location from the sponsored ad.
And my recommendation? Make the most of this opportunity while it is still free, as you have to assume Google is not out to destroy its own commercial model.
To that end, I would expect to see related new forms of paid advertising being launched by Google in the weeks and months to come. Given its current focus on location, my guess is that mobile advertising is next on the hit list. Watch this space.
I love this game. The rules are simple but the game is not easy. You download the iphone app. Find the virtual mini and you ‘take’ it if you get within 50 metres of it. Then comes the tricky bit … you have to keep other players from taking the mini from you. Keep hold of it and you win a real life mini. Nice.
Watch this space for mash-ups from every agency going 🙂
Blaise Aguera, co-creator of Photosynth, demonstrates the latest Microsoft augmented reality mapping technology from MS Live Labs.
Great fodder for brainstorming ways emerging mapping (and image/data crowdsourcing) technology can be wrapped up in practical applications.
That’s a live video feed layered over 3D map of an interior space.
Layered images from multiple sources.
Look up for time-based constellation mapping.
X-ray vision – the thing that every 80s child dreamt about – is here. See through walls, cars and other objects … and look like a right dork whilst wearing the augmented reality headset.
Two of my favourite things are niche blogs and maps. Combine the two and you have Strange Maps.
If this kind of cartographical madness floats your boat, have a look…
Allegorical map to “success” (I remember this from a print on someone’s wall from my childhood – thanks for the bizarre blast from the past, Strange Maps!)
…and this relic from the White Australia era which depicts a racist view of Asian immigrants. Strange map!
…or why I won’t be taking William St. tonight.
Lucky commuters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane can now take a quick look at the traffic in Google Maps before deciding if they should wait for it to clear in the pub over the road or not.
Thanks to Intelematics, traffic data is now shown as an optional overlay in all versions of Google Maps. Green, for good. Yellow for average. Red for nasty.
iPhone users rejoice. That greyed out traffic button under the page curl in the Google Maps app is now alive and ready to serve. Apparantly it works on other mobile versions too.
Other cities (read US cities) have had this for a while so it’s nice to be caught up.
To the pub, now, I reckon.
Official emergency service sites in Victoria were suffering under huge amounts of traffic over the weekend due to the horrific bushfires. If you need information on the fires or want to check on locations you should use the site that Google have set up to track the fires.
Keep traffic clear of the sites that are urgently needed by people in the area affected.
Our thoughts go out to everyone affected. Stay safe.
It started four years ago in the UK as a project to create a free and editable world map. What began as a few geogeeks wandering the streets with their GPS’s has turned into a global movement with over 75,000 registered contributors.
check out the animated gif on how it developed over the past 2 years here
I find it impressive how committed some people are:
Most impressive has been the takeup in Germany: 300 volunteers mapped 99.8% of Hamburg (German), and there is now a German-language OpenStreetMap book. (I am sure it will be 100% soon – they are german 🙂 )
There are other things too – like a OpenCycleMap which takes the base OSM data and renders it slightly differently, giving emphasis to features relevant to cyclists.
As a result in many parts of the developing world OSM is now the most comprehensive online mapping available, for example see this comparison of online maps of Baghdad.
There are more examples on how OSM is better than the others:
I find it very interesting and I am glad there are so many people out there that spend their free time making our lifes easier.
Australia has become the third country in the world to be scanned by Google’s fleet of “Googlemobiles” for the Google Street View project.
Literally thousands of kilometres of road have been scanned in order to create thousands street-level panoramas of almost anywhere in the country there’s a road.
As you can see from the blue areas above, the coverage is staggering. If you had the time (and inclination) you could travel from one end of the country to the other.
As staggering as it is, however, Google apparantly don’t deem Hargrave St important enough to cover. Maybe the one-way street put it in the too-hard-basket. You’ll just have to wave at us as you head down Liverpool St.
With so many images in the system, more than are few are going to be “interesting”. For example, Gizmodo were sent the following location on Denigan St in the ACT, where it appears the Googlemobile driver decided to make a pitstop at the Erindale shopping centre.
Expect some kind of Media Watch-style outcry about the invasion of peoples privacy, but this is information anyone can get by driving down the street. Google have taken the time to blur the faces of anyone captured in the images.
What remains to be seen is the first real commercial application of this technology that will raise it above being just a (very) cool toy.