Google's new local searching capabilities

by Andy Lester

Related link: http://local.google.com/



Google's just rolled out an updated version of their interface. I'm especially interested in
local.google.com, which finds local businesses. If I'm looking for
a burrito place near McHenry, IL, Google will give me a list, and even show me
a map of where they are. Sometimes Google will also link to the website of the company, but that also seems incomplete in what it knows about.


The implementation on this is really nice. The search results are sorted by distance from the city, but you can add a street address and get distance from there, especially if your house isn't near where Google thinks the "city" starts.


For the most part, things work like you'd expect. I do a search for "shoes" and get
10 pages of shoe stores.
Unfortunately, their list of stores seems hit-and-miss.
My beloved Tacos El Norte doesn't show up in the aforementioned burrito search. Also, I can search for
currency exchange and get local hits, but
the closest payday loans place is 23 miles away. (Oh, if only it were true!) If I look for
payday loan (singular) there's one eleven miles away.


I've thrown about 50 different search items at it (tires, books, hardware, printing, business cards, macintosh, etc etc), and only two results have been strange, and I'd think it would be a common search. Search for "smut", and Google returns a list of bars in the area. Looking for local "porn" turns up
a list of lawyers. What is Google trying to tell us?

What cool new things have you found on Google today?