Google Takes on Yelp

January 11, 2010 by  
Filed under All, seo, social media

Google has never shied away from taking on other companies. Since inception, when Google supplied the search results for Yahoo, and then turned around and beat Yahoo at its own game, through the ‘email wars‘ with Yahoo and Microsoft, to taking on Apple with its own phone(s).

And I think we can now add Yelp to the list.

It was widely reported that last month Yelp wallked away from a Google buy out, an almost done deal worth $550+million. Google seems to have responsed to this snub by stepping up the quality of its own local Place Pages.

I’ve mentioned Google Local pages on here before, but as with all things Google, they never stay still for very long. Besides the existing features, such as photos, maps, coupons and hours, Google has introduced their own ranking system, with rankings based on aggregating comments on sites such as TripAdvisor, Kudzu and Igougo.

For instance, here’s the page for one of our clients in Charleston, Circa 1886 restaurant. Under the heading ‘What people are saying about’ you can read the comments, divided up into categories,  service, meal, staff, atmosphere and wine list, alongside a colored bar similar to the PageRank bar:

(click to enlarge)

and selecting one of the topics will show you more details and comments about that aspect.

More worryingly for Yelp, NextStop and others, Google has also released an iPhone/Android app (with good reviews), Near Me Now, which allows users to see what is nearby, and pulls inthe Place Pages data too.

Of course, Google has had its own notable failures too – Paypal is still a lot more popular than Google Checkout, Orkut has quiet some way to go to dethrone Facebook as King of the Internet, and Craigslist/Ebay are still casting a snooty eye over the upstart that is Google Base.

So what do you think? Has Google made a useful product? Is this it for Yelp? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

One Response to “Google Takes on Yelp”
  1. Melih Oztalay says:

    Hi Simon,

    I anticipate that Google’s “Near Me Now” is something that was always planned with or without Yelp. The bigger issue during 2010 will be the war that will rage for consumer reviews at multiple local business listing websites.

    Google has it’s own local business listings and allows consumers to post reviews. So does, Yahoo, Bing, City Search/Ask, Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, Local.com and the list goes on. Although, all of these local listing type
    websites will be seeking out the consumer to visit their website and post a review about a local or small business, I think the local and small business will become overwhelmed trying to monitor all of these websites.

    As you can imagine a solution already exists for the local and small business. At KillerStartUps a company was recently reviewed providing Local Business Listing Management servers for local and small businesses. You can read up on KillerStartUps perspective of this at:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfindslocallisting-com-be-found-online

    Although, this will be a time consuming effort for the local and small business to manage their local business listing at multiple websites, this is the first time that the Internet is actually helping the local and small business. Hopefully, this business group can be early adopters for a change and embrace the technology so they can benefit sooner rather than later.

    Great discussion here. Thanks.