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A panel of Google Local execs spoke at ILM East today about the importance of building social and personalized content on top of the basic business listings details that constitute Places (and so many other online local products).

Lior Ron, Lead Product Manager, Google Places/Hotpot
Ben Wood, Head of Channel Partnerships Americas, Google
Ben Wright, VP, Service Delivery & Marketplace, Trada

This isn’t really anything new (Yelp, anyone?), but is an important step for Google which has traditionally had varied success with all things social (Wave, Buzz, Orkut, etc.). But as we’ve argued, social infusion might take hold with Places.

Lior Ron reminded us that there are 50 million place pages globally, but the one thing missing was people. Hotpot attempts to fill that hole lots of ways that we’ve covered.

Since the launch, it’s added other things like checking in and better mobile integration. Ron added that you can also tweet and upload photos.

And of course this is Google — all of this is added to the search index and takes prime positioning for local search results.

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