Google Moves Local Search to Home Page

NEW YORK Google said it added a link to its local search engine on its home pages in the United States and Canada in an effort to introduce the service to more consumers.

The Google home page, which drew 67 million U.S. visitors last month, now carries links to Google Local, Google’s shopping search engine Froogle, user groups and image and news search. Previously, users needed to visit for the service. Local search results also appear in response to relevant Google searches.

Local search has emerged as a key growth area for search engines, which see an opportunity to tap into the $14 billion U.S. local businesses spend on offline directory advertising. Google Local carries advertiser listings tied to searches. For example, a New York pizzeria could pay each time its ad is clicked in response to pizza searches done in Manhattan.

“We are very bullish on local, but I think also people should understand that it will take time to get adoption of all these services and also to make them work really, really well,” Larry Page, Google’s president of products, told investment analysts earlier this week.

Google Local launched in March 2004. Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and Amazon’s offer competing local search engines.