I guess the holiday vacation gave a lot of people time to examine search results they were seeing from Google. Â More and more has been written about Google’s search quality and the fact that spam is appearing in search results more often. Â I don’t pretend to know the algorithm that powers Google search results, but the basic rule of thumb is data in and data out. Â The more data you put in, the better the data you would get out, or so you would assume.
That brings me to local. Â Location, when available, should always be used to help with the data that goes into search. Â I am most intrigued by Google’s Near Field Communication (NFC) test going on in Portland, Oregon. Â The idea behind this test is that you can go to a business, hold your phone up to the sticker in the window, and get reviews on the business.
Google is taking location so seriously that Marissa Mayer is now in charge of their local strategy. Â The key is realizing that location and proximity are not the same thing. Â The use case Google is giving for their NFC test is not so valid to me. Â I usually search for a restaurant review or business review before I leave my house, but a use case that may be interesting is to know what has happened at a given location via rich media (photos, videos) or if the business is a previous Groupon participant.
Location is a huge component to the data in for search. Â It is used today on the iPhone as well as Android to help find places nearby. Â It can be used for things other than places however. Â Location can help find results based on what others in your area are clicking on as well. Â Can local solve spam in search? Â Definitely not, but it can be part of the data in that makes search results more relevant.