Google announced today that it will add a new option to its search sidebar: it will now display the current location that the search engine is using to provide you with local results, while at the same time making it much easier to change that location.
Admitting in a blog post that the old way of changing your current location was “a little clunky” by putting a simple input box into the left hand navigation, Google has really simplified this. In addition, by showing which location it is using to determine your location, it is more transparent (however, in the screenshots we saw, we didn’t see a way to easily turn off your current location completely, which some people might like to do).
Our first thought upon seeing this was: is this the beginning of “the Marissa Mayer Effect” on Google’s location strategy? Our guess: yes, because it bridges the gap between Mayer’s old job – running search – to her new job – running location and local. Basically, in one fell swoop, this makes both search easier to localize, and location a more up-front part of search.
Our only question is why did it take Google so long to do something like this? In the blog post, Google mentions,
“…more and more locally relevant information has come online, whether it’s local business listings or a blog from your hometown. Meanwhile, Google has become much better at presenting this locally relevant content—so it felt like the right time to make this setting easier to find.”
Yes, that and the fact that this could very well have been the first check box on Mayer’s location/local to-do list (or the last on her search list). Google says that it will be rolling this out shortly and in 40 languages. We’re very interested to see what is next.