In recent months, Brafton has reported that Google is focusing on the local market, and CEO Eric Schmidt has declared 2011 the year of mobile. At the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Google's Marissa Mayer confirmed that the company is investing in mobile and local products this year, though she suggested marketers will soon be able to narrow their focus as Google streamlines its efforts in this realm.
Mayer told attendees that maps and phones are now a part of Americans’ everyday lives. She says there are more than 150 million mobile users who use Google Maps, representing nearly half (40 percent) of all Google Maps usage. She reminds marketers that this is redefining how consumers interact with search.
“Today, our focus is still on search, but what search can be is so much broader … One of the really powerful things that's happening is location.” Mayer goes on to discuss how mobile and local, together, intersect to form a new era of search technology that meets a rising consumer demand.
She introduced a bevy of new mobile products, but then took a moment to explain that Google will be streamlining its local mobile services in the future. As Brafton has reported, the company has launched an almost overwhelming number of local, mobile-friendly services – including social mobile recommendation tool Hotpot (which rewards brands that get positive reviews from users), foursquare-like check-ins for Google Latitude and Google Boost for mobile (delivering ads to on-the-go searchers).
Now, Mayer suggests Google will take the data it receives on the myriad products it has released to create a more succinct approach to local mobile search. “We do have too many products and we do need to condense them,” she said.
The takeaway for marketers should be that the local mobile market is not to be ignored, and they should be on the lookout for an intuitive local mobile platform from Google in the near future.