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10/15/2009
06:45 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Google Uses Q3 Earnings Report To Tout Services For Local Companies

Not surprisingly, most coverage of today's Google's third quarter financial results focusd on the company's beating expections and resuming hiring. But bMighty is interested in the juicy details provided about the search giant's offerings for local businesses.

Not surprisingly, most coverage of today's Google's third quarter financial results focusd on the company's beating expections and resuming hiring. But bMighty is interested in the juicy details provided about the search giant's offerings for local businesses.The comments, from senior vice president of product management Jonathan Rosenberg, didn't even make Google's official press release, but

According to Rosenberg:

We're beta testing a a new ad offering which we call Local Listing Ads. With that, you basically sign up with just a simple one-page form, you don't have to deal with keywords, you don't have to deal with bids to manage, there's a simple flat monthly rate. And if you don't have a Web page, the ad can link to your Place page -- that's a free page that we generate and you can edit -- that has all sorts of information about your business.

We've launched about 50 million of these Place pages.

The phone numbers on the ads go through Google Voice, so you can actually track the calls you get and you know which ones were generated by your Google ad. The call actually comes in -- and it literally says "this call brought to you by Google." The trial is right now just in San Francisco and San Diego, but if you enter "coffee... San Francisco" you can actually see one of the ads.

If you look here with what we're doing with Maps and Local, you'll see that we have the ads infrastructure, geographical data, Google Voice, and Place pages -- and those things are now all working together to create a very compelling solution for small local businesses.

So everything is now really finally in place for local businesses to easily connect with customers online.

Clearly, Google wants to dominate the now largely fragmented business of of connecting local companies with potential customers. And the company is developing innovative new features to do that, which could have real benefits for smaller companies.

But be warned. Google isn't doing this out of any altruistic motive. It wants to make money on this, and that money will have to come from somewhere. If these services can help grow your business, great! But based on the relative size of Google and the local businesses it's targeting, it's fairly easy to speculate as to who is really in control of this relationship.

Google has already helped to restructure (some might say "devastate") the publishing business by sucking advertising dollars from content creators to search (no, I'm not bitter) and the potential for similar changes for local businesses lurks here as well.

More Local Business Info From bMighty:

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