The Future Of Mobile HyperLocal Search

Google announced Voice Search this week, but already I want to see Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads in my search results after pulling up the voice search app to say "where can I find a red dress, locally." In the retail sector, 41% of consumers participating in a recent study use their smartphone for local search.

Overall, 4 in 10 people use local search once daily. About 83% of smartphone owners do a local search on theirs at least once a week and 42% do local searches on their smartphones at least three to four times weekly, according to the white paper sponsored by YP.com and prepared by Phil Hendrix, director at research and consulting firm immr. The survey conducted in June took an online sample of 1,145 respondents.

Voice search will play a major role in hyperlocal services. Most consumers doing local searches seek hours, location, and directions to stores, restaurants or building, as well as product availability, prices, and special. But the ability to search by voice, rather than typing in a query will not only increase the frequency of searches on mobile devices, but site search, as well.

Those doing the searching look for information on search engines, like Google or Bing; local search sites, like the YP.com SM site, Superpages, CitySearch and Yahoo Local; portal search sites like AOL, MSN, and Ask.com; and review sites like Yelp and Angie's List.

While search engines have become the most popular source for local search, findings suggest there is still room for new sources. Some might consider social networks. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg describes his ideal search engine as a sort of question-and-answer (Q&A) type site, pulling information from connected public profiles and posts.

Some 6 out of 10 visit a social network at least daily, and 1 in 3 visit multiple times daily. Determining how best to incorporate individuals' social graphs in local search is a promising direction, according to the survey. The use of location-aware apps, especially navigation, by smartphone users continues to grow.  The survey found 7 out of 10 smartphone owners use location-aware mobile apps. Integrating location for more than maps and directions will become more important for hyperlocal search results.

Tags: mobile, search
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