Google’s Search On 2022 event was held on Wednesday 28 September; a conference announcing the latest features coming to Google. We’ve rounded up all the exciting local search updates coming to Google this year, as featured at the event.
Multisearch near me
“Your camera is the next keyboard,” explained Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s Senior Vice President.
Updates a Multisearch will now include the terminology “near me”. Users will be able to search through photos and images, along with fewer words, to find what they are looking for and nearby stores that sell it. While we have been aware of this update for a few months now, it has now been confirmed that it will begin rolling out in the US.
Find the food you love
You will now be able to search (using both text and images) for a specific dish. This is a truly intriguing update that will help you find the exact dish you want in restaurants near you.
Try searching for “soup dumplings near me”, for example, to find restaurants near you that serve that dish. The exact results of the dishes will be displayed on the SERPs and users will be able to browse the menus and view the dishes and their details. You can also book a restaurant reservation at that time.
We don’t know what it will be like for restaurant owners, but it could mean that more attention is needed on their Google business profiles to show up in SERPs.
We’ve all been there … a craving for food you can’t get out of your mind. In the next few months you can search for a specific dish, like “soup dumplings near me” and quickly see what local restaurants offer, with photos and reviews, fulfilling that craving in no time. #Search on pic.twitter.com/E1oDdk3S0z
– Google (@Google) September 28, 2022
Google Maps neighborhood vibe
Popular places on Google Maps will soon come to life as users explore the area. While browsing on Google Maps, you will be able to see the photos and videos uploaded by the users of the area, to get a real “atmosphere” of the neighborhood. This seems like a nod to the rise of social search and appears to replicate what Instagram is already doing with its immersive map. It also recognizes platforms like TikTok where video-first content offers a more authentic view of particular neighborhoods and places.
We are about to see a new era of local influencers on Neighborhood Vibe?
If you are visiting a new place, it can be difficult to understand what is worth exploring. Soon @Google Mapsyou can have the atmosphere of a neighborhood at a glance with photos and videos of the most famous places coming to life on your map. #Search on pic.twitter.com/jr7UogG7hB
– Google (@Google) September 28, 2022
Live view of Google Maps
You can now explore nearby places with a live view, using the new Maps overlay. Just pick up your phone to search and Maps will show you what’s around you, including details like working hours and how busy a place is.
Source: research in 2022
Steer clear of the reviews?
It appears that Google is also driving users away from Google reviews, as Sophia Lin, GM of Food at Google explains, “Star ratings are useful, but they don’t tell you everything about a restaurant.”
Upcoming implementations include artificial intelligence that will take useful information from other sources, such as images uploaded by users, to help you evaluate a position and make a decision that is not based solely on reviews.
Greg Sterling, Near Media said, “This was subtle, but Google seemed to belittle reviews as a tool for consumers in favor of other types of information.” He added on Twitter, “One of the most interesting things said to #SearchOn today was a passing comment that suggests that reviews are less useful now for consumers and that they point to other qualitative and visual content to make restaurant decisions.”
While it might not mean the death of reviews, it could simply mean that they are a minor factor that could affect your rankings.
Multi-search and immersive features seem to be the common theme of these new updates, with Google pushing users to use visual search more than text search.
They also seem to have finally acknowledged the possible distrust of reviews and are giving users more ways to evaluate their purchase decisions through real-world features.