4 key updates for local search coming in 2022

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.

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?

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.

In summary

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.

Jenny Bernard

Jenny cares for the BrightLocal community, through managing our social media channels, connecting with our community and producing our online webinars.

Mike Hawkes

Mike is BrightLocal’s Senior Content Marketing Manager. With over seven years of digital marketing experience, he is responsible for designing and executing our content strategy and delivering a range of local SEO insights to our audience.

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