Google Unveils Local Listings

NEW YORK Google has combined traditional business listings with location-specific information extracted from its index of 4.2 billion Web documents to offer users local search results.

The new functionality has been integrated into Google.com, so relevant local information appears at the top of a results page when triggered by a keyword, such as “pizza,” paired with a location-specific query, such as a ZIP code. When available, these results are marked by a small compass, which connects users to a “Google Local” results page when clicked. The listings on the local page contain more in-depth information, such as neighborhood business listings, maps, directions and other relevant Web resources.

Google Local, currently in its beta phase, does not carry advertising. Sponsored-search listings will likely be integrated into the service, but a Google representative declined to give a time line for that addition.

Other companies, such as Yahoo!, MSN and Verizon, already have their own versions of local listings on the Web.