Google has just released city-specific business directories that are clearly going to compete with Yelp, Citysearch, and for travel with TripAdvisor in terms of highlighting popular local businesses.
Google has been trying hard to get a secure position in the local scene. As Marissa Mayer described it, local was one of the important aspects of the current web – with the others being media, search, mobile, and social. With YouTube, Google has the media stage. With Android, Google has mobile. But the social sphere and the local platform are both owned by competitors (specifically Facebook and Groupon), and Google has to fight to catch up.
One recent effort to fight in just that way is Google’s new city pages. This is an expansion of the Google Places effort. Google Places is a compilation of local businesses. Users can submit and look over reviews (including simple star ratings and more in-depth reviews), see pictures of the location, and even suggest businesses to their friends. City Pages, the new feature from Google, takes this concept and organizes it in a city-by-city structure. Each city page covers only one region and provides a directory for each city.
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