Google is taking location and local services seriously and it has appointed Marissa Mayer as the head of this division.
Marissa Mayer was VP of search products but she will be overtaking the local and location service part of the company. Google routinely puts Mayer on television and in its public events and you can be sure that she’s a heavy hitter at the search giant.
Google already has a strong presence in the location and local services with Android and other platforms but it has also not been as successful in this space as one would think it could be.
The Google Maps for mobile app is widely considered the best mapping program but it is under assault from Bing Maps and Nokia’s Ovi Maps.
The Buzz mobile location-based features were arguably better than anything the desktop could do but it was still a flop.
The Google Latitude API was expected to spur a ton of location-relevant apps but that has yet to happen yet. The company also had purchased Dodgeball, let it die and watch its creator go on to create Foursquare.
The thing about local and location-based search is that it’s not quite as simple as the search giant porting its online advertising juggernaut to the mobile, location-aware space. The real honeypot is getting all those local shops and businesses to get on board but many of these are not too savvy on technology and it takes a lot of boots on the ground (I’ve been told by location-based providers that the Yellowpages may have a leg up on Google in this area thanks to its experience).
Still, you would be a fool to discount the search giant in this area, particularly with Mayer at the helm. Look for the company to integrate its services into Android and spread it to other mobile platforms as soon as possible.