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Google's Local Search gets intuitive

Google has been offering local search results for quite a while now, so that if you type in a query such as "florists in London" then at the top of the results page you get a list of relevant businesses with their phone number and a map like this: google local search

(try searching for "creative agency london").

However, up until now you needed to specify your location for this to work. But a post on the official Google blog announced that they will be delivering local search results based on your IP address, regardless of whether you tell them where you are. The post reads "When you search on Google, we will guess where you are and show results near you. In most cases, we match your IP address to a broad geographical location." You will note that Google are being typically vague by saying that they identify a broad location "in most cases" (my emphasis). The recent privacy controversies surrounding Street View have meant that they are keen to reassert their view that IP addresses are not personally identifiable information. But I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will object to being advertised as a skinny latte just because they are sitting in Starbucks.


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