Yahoo Needs to Do a Lot More Than Simply Imitate Google in Local

New Yahoo logoIf Yahoo wants to be competitive in mobile over the long term it absolutely needs to address local. That doesn’t mean recreating Google Maps or Street View. It does however have to offer a credible and useful local search or local discovery experience on mobile devices.

Yesterday Yahoo introduced an enhanced Google-like update to local search results on the PC. Yahoo is starting to show a range of enhanced information on the right side of the page: “information like a company overview, photos, hours of operation, parking availability and more. With a noticeably larger map that stays put on the sidebar, it’s easier to find the location closest to you.”

I’m not seeing it quite yet. But here’s a comparison for “House of Prime Rib, San Francisco.” First the before/current shot and then the new or enhanced layout.

Yahoo local search

Yahoo local PC

The new layout is more useful and visually appealing. However it’s unimaginatively almost identical to what Google is doing with its “knowledge graph.” Here’s the same search result from Google:

Google local search result

While Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ran local for Google in her final couple of years at the company that’s no excuse for simply mimicking what Google has done. The thinking might be: duplicate the user experience on Google and make Yahoo an acceptable alternative.

However Yahoo will need to do something truly innovative and interesting in order to win new usage. I can think of lots of things it could do with local on mobile devices to create a differentiated but still useful “local search” or discovery experience. Let’s if it does any of those things.

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8 Responses to “Yahoo Needs to Do a Lot More Than Simply Imitate Google in Local”

  1. Robert Lane says at

    Wow… the new layout is like a mirrored image to the normal G Local results. I’m with you though, it would be great to see Yahoo really make a run at something great with Local. If the new identical design helps, so be it. 

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    Yes, I hope this is the beginning of something really interesting for yahoo.

  3. Jeffrey Magner says at

    You said it – “It does however have to offer a credible and useful local search or local discovery experience on mobile devices”. 
    Making pretty UI updates is easy compared to their task of becoming credible and trustworthy. Do you trust the local results on Yahoo Greg?

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    Haven’t done any analysis of their data quality. However I’m sure they get reasonably good data from usual third-party sources. However I don’t think this is going to move the needle at all for them.

  5. Jeffrey Magner says at

    Why do you suppose their stock price is going up? Is it just hope? Have there been any tangible improvements over there – in the bottom line or anywhere? Wishful thinking? Hype & media coverage? I’m not a believer.

  6. Greg says at

    a lot of it has to do with confidence in Marissa’s plan but also the Alibaba asian asset is extremely valuable

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    […] Needs to Do a Lot More Than Simply Imitate Google in Local (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: If Yahoo wants to be competitive in mobile over the long term it absolutely needs […]

  8. Dick Larkin says at

    Greg-
    Right on. Got me thinking that the big, untapped opportunity for Yahoo is LOYALTY.
    I wrote a quick post about it at Commando Marketing
    http://blog.commandomarketing.com/2014/02/yahoo%E2%80%99s-big-opportunity-in-local-%E2%80%93-loyalty/

  9. Greg Sterling says at

    you’re referring to SMBs? It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure Yahoo is able to execute on that where small businesses are concerned, however.

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