Google has updated the Australian version of its Maps application, which coincides with the search giant announcing that next week, it will update its global service so that maps can be embedded into any Web page using an iframe.
At a press event in Sydney on Tuesday, Google senior product manager, Carl Sjogreen explained that from now on, if an Australian search query contains a place name, such as "pizza Surry Hills", a map box displaying local businesses that match the query will be displayed before the main search results.
"It seems straightforward but this kind of experience is not easy to find on other mapping sites. Type three words, find a result, get driving directions? I challenge you to find that on any of the other sites in Australia as easily," he said.
Google's increasing focus on local markets is driven by the vast majority of searches being directed at local services and businesses, according to Sjogreen.
"Now when you do searches for local businesses on Google.com, the interesting local results appear as well — with a map and with the most relevant places highlighted.
"We have over nine million Australians that use Google everyday and our estimates show that something like 50 percent of Web queries are local or map related in nature," said Sjogreen.
Google also announced that next week it will make life much easier for users that want to share a Google Map using their Web page or blog by providing some code that will allow Google Maps to be used almost anywhere on the Internet.
"This makes it easy to take a Google map and make it accessible from any other Web site," said Sjogreen.
Local Google means local adverts
Australian businesses are now able to purchase advertising space within Google Maps search results. The offering allows for customisable icons and text to appear both in the results and on the map itself, said Jeremy Wood, Google Australia's field product specialist.
"It functions as an ad type from within adwords," said Wood.
Google is also increasing its focus on user generated content with the option to search all public My Maps via a link at the bottom of the map search results. Although not completely integrated into Google Maps search results, Sjogreen said that this would be something Google will investigate.
Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining the company as a programmer.Leaving CBS Interactive in 2010 to follow his deep desire to study the snowdrifts and culinary delights of Canada, Chris based himself in Vancouver and paid for his new snowboarding and poutine cravings as a programmer for a lifestyle gaming startup.Chris returns to CBS in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia determined to meld together his programming and journalistic tendencies once and for all.In his free time, Chris is often seen yelling at different operating systems for their own unique failures, avoiding the dreaded tech support calls from relatives, and conducting extensive studies of internets — he claims he once read an entire one.