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The Google Local Business Centre NZ

December 13, 2007

So Google has finally launched a localised version of New Zealand Google Maps.
http://maps.google.co.nz/

They have licensed 225,000 business listings from APN Finda to seed the local information. It’s an interesting play from Finda who is trying to beat Yellow Pages online. According to the NZ Herald, it is a “data share” arrangement in exchange for links back to the finda.co.nz website but I only see one link at the very bottom of the page below the listings. Business listings provided by Finda™. I don’t imagine any user will be associating the Finda brand with their search experience, surely there is a data licensing fee as well???

As you would expect the Google search experience is pretty good. They combine results from the wider world web with the Finda data so pretty much any search will get some sort of answer. The obvious simple searches like hotels or restaurants are well covered. And of course, powered by Google servers, the results are snappy.

Google Australia and New Zealand executive Carl Sjogreen says “We have this set of features which we tend to roll-out as we get them ready. But when we get the full package – and the crown jewel of that is local search – we launch a domain for the local market.”
The emphasis is mine, I’ve thought for a long time that local search is a massive opportunity because of the high relevance of advertising to both the consumer and advertiser, obviously Google agrees.

Google also encourages businesses to list themselves in their Google Local Business Centre. A series of simple forms with a nifty phone-back validation system, even sporting a kiwi accent! I was a bit amazed by the statement that it would take 4 weeks for the listing to appear on Google Maps though, that seems ridulously long.

You’re probably thinking (I certainly am) ; how can Zenbu compete with Google?

  • Zenbu data is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Openness counts, maybe only to geeks right now, but maybe more and more to the masses too.
  • Zenbu edits are instantly available online.
  • Zenbu’s Find Nearest functionality is still unseen elsewhere.
  • With your support! Get involved.

One thing is guaranteed, the local search space in NZ just got even more interesting.

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