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Googles Marissa Mayer Moves to Location - Local Services

 2:57 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Mayer’s search duties will be taken on by Udi Manber, vice president of engineering for Web search, according to the person familiar with the change. Manber, a veteran of Yahoo! Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., joined Google in 2006.

btw: Bing is to announce a major update tomorrow.



 3:04 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yea, I am a bit surprised by this change.


 3:12 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well gosh - the new serps didn't go over very good with the public. Google instant was rolled out to much fanfare, and quickly ignored by everyone. Essentially every UI change in the last year has been viewed as 'bing'alike. It was clearly time for a major shake up at the UI dept of Google. Lets just hope, Udi believes in stability above all else. If it aint broke - don't fix it.

The interesting thing to me is how hard Google PR is trying to spin this as a promotion. Mayer moves from the look-n-feel director of the top webpage of all time in the entire world, to a bean counter shuffling map checkins!? This does not seem like a promotion to me. Sounds like she got set down...


 3:27 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

If it aint broke - don't fix it.

That's the kind of philosophy that kills good companies. Stability = Stagnation. Great companies are constantly improving, not just hanging on to past successes.

A good example of that is Apple, who obsoletes their own products instead of waiting for competitors to do it for them.


 5:29 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that means, global sites will be dead in the SERPs. Restaurant directories, hotel booking sites, etc. will not be showed in organic SERPs.
Instead, there will be local results everywhere. And, actually, this is what has been tested in the last few months.


 5:51 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great companies are constantly improving, not just hanging on to past successes.

There is improvement and then there is change for the sake of change that doesn't go well with users. Ask Digg ;)


 11:40 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

stability above all else

Taken from a line in the daily prayer of top ranked websites:

Don't change anything,
stability above all else,
and give us this day our daily traffic.

Is the move a "demotion" because there's so little at stake, so little happening, so little challenge . . in the local-location market? How do you reach such a conclusion?

It seems to me that the next big battle IS local, so who better to lead the charge.


 1:38 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

We aren't on the inside with regard to top level decisions. Who knows?

Regardless, Local faces enormous opportunity, challenges, issues, and problems. Its a major endeavor IMHO, and probably similarly major by those who follow Local closely.

Just to list a few of those challenges and opportunities:

1. Local expenditure will skyrocket and boom over the next few years.
2. Google will attract a lot of that spend.
3. Other players will attract enormous amounts of that spend including potential Google Partners.
4. If the partners take their piece out of the spend in Google before Google does, and that is highly likely, it will dramatically hamper profitability in that arena.
5. There is enormous and growing competition in the local arena including the other SE's, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and a huge and growing variety of competitors. Will traffic into the local arena be fractured and fractionalized amongst a huge volume of players or will Google dominatete that world?
6. Ranking in Google Places is far easier to manipulate and spam than is google.com. The ranking spam is proliferating. Will Google be able to catch it effectively and control it?
7. There is a growing unhappiness with significant, virtually nonexistant customer service and response to the growing volume of smb's that populate Google Local with their websites, places records, and advertising. Will Google up the level and quality of response to problems.

That is a short list of the current challenges. Its a lot to deal with. As the volume of revenues that pours into internet Local advertising increases at a dramatic clip, the question is...how well will Google do in capturing its share?

Demotion, promotion, lateral move....who knows. Meanwhile I believe its a huge challenge.


 1:44 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

> It seems to me that the next big battle IS local,
> so who better to lead the charge.

Who is that quote from? Infoseek 1998? Inktomi 2000? I know for a fact Tim Mayer said something similar at PubCon Boston in 2002. Local is "been there - done that". Yes, there is growth potential, but nothing that is going to compare to what G already has in the box.


 2:35 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

If it aint broke - don't fix it.

They should make every engineer at Google chant this all day long. Theres a continual process of improvement, and then theres change because you think you know better what people want than they do.

Just my 2 cents, but between the constant clutter they keep adding to the page, and the declining quality of results; I just don't like the Google search experience as much as I used to.

Google no longer follows the fundamental business principal of "Listening to the voice of the customer".


 2:52 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Local is "been there - done that"

2002? Really? I could have sworn that most local businesses still had near-and-dear relationships with their local yellowpages rep in 2002 . . not their SEO or SEM firm.

I must have missed something when I sat down to lunch with local business owners and didn't hear anyone talking about their PPC budgets and geo-targeting efforts in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, . . It must be a memory problem. I could swear at most they were still thinking and talking about keyword stuffing. In fact, I thought I saw that just the other day . . on more than a few local sites . . now its just more geo-keyword stuffing, of course.

Google "Place Places"? Ya, sure, ALL the locals all have their heads around how G-Places, geo-targeting and how local ranking factors are beginning to affect their business and how to optimize for that. :-/

I must have been mistaken when I thought there was a great deal of buzz around Google increasing the listings of local search results in the SERPS in the last 1-2 years. That was 2002, huh?

Or maybe what G "already has in the box" is and will continually shrink in proportion to what will emerge as local businesses begin to heat up the lead-gen battle now that G has killed the YPs . . . unless, of course, the YPs - who were always very good at connecting locals to local businesses (but incredibly stupid at adapting to the WWW) . . stage a claw-back-comeback. Nah. No room for that type of local challenge . . YP type clean listings . . on mobile devices.

I kind of thought of local as somewhat of a cluster-frack to locals, with all the recent SERPs results and layout changes, a situation that many locals are just beginning to wrestle with (How do THEY rank locally at the top? Reviews? In G-local? How do I deal with THAT? etc.) . . but . . it's over . . local is so 2002.

Yeah, local is over . . and its small potatos. Not much money to be drained . . err . . earned from small local businesses. Nothing here. Move on. Local and SMB is so 2002 . . even MM can handle it. :-/


 7:47 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

When Yahoo launched local in 2003'ish, ever se on the web marched someone out to say "we have a local product to compete and ours is better". It has been the drum beat for almost a decade (SSDD). It plays good in the local paper. It is about bringing price-insensitive local businesses onto the web to spend advertising dollars. It has nothing to do with a better product to serve the searching public.


 11:40 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ Brett:

I've been following local for a long time. It was in Feb 2005 that Google dramatically changed and improved its organic algo and opened the door for local businesses/websites. Prior to that you could never find a local electrician, plumber, store, etc. because of an algo that didn't work for local businesses.

Google brought the little viewed maps.google into google.com thru universal search and opened another door for local businesses.

Currently Google Maps (google Places) is very susceptable to spam and manipulation. Its similar in that vein to google.com 5,6,7 years ago. It does need to be cleaned up for the good of the quality of information and to remove the dirtballs that spam it.

I've got several smbs. We work on organic, Google Places, and PPC. We work on other places on the web. We work on social media. We do that because the old forms of media don't work anymore. Sure its about spending advertising dollars, but its also about getting better information to the searcher.

Its weird for me to support Google Places in that I often criticize it in local venues. Google Places is very buggy and problematic. Meanwhile its an improvement from what once was and frankly its important for web searchers. They want to find appropriate local businesses.

I want local businesses. I don't want a 1-800 florist skimming some of the purchase cost and not giving me service. My sister gave me the name of a local florist for our mom. The guy knew she didn't want any more vases. That is a bit of "better service". I won't get that from a 1-800 florist.

If I need an emergency locksmith b/c I'm locked out of my house I don't want some spammer that might currently be under investigation for ripping people off w/ spammy results in Google and elsewhere on the web....and who might be under investigation b/c they quote people one price on the phone and then show up w/ a far more expensive price. I want a local business that is accountable. If he tries to rip me off I'll give him horrible reviews all over the web. he is forced to be accountable.

It is about advertising and its also about producing better results. My experience is that Local is a big job with a lot of challenges. There is also a tremendous amount of advertising money at stake.

Far be it for me to say whether the job is a promotion, demotion or lateral change. I do believe it is a big job.


 4:07 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's the kind of philosophy that kills good companies. Stability = Stagnation. Great companies are constantly improving, not just hanging on to past successes.
No. It is an engineering philosophy that works well with UIs. Basically the trick is to get the user to become used to and proficient with the UI so that they can eventually use it without having to think about things. The Gee-Whiz geekery that Google's UI people inflicted on users broke that simplicity and gave Bing the chance that it needed. It would have been far better if these features were added gradually so that users could become familiar with them over time instead of overloading them. Perhaps Google's UI people forgot that Google built its reputation on making things simple. Any idiot can make things complex but it takes real genius to make things simple.


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