Internet search leader Google Inc. late on Monday announced a test service for finding local restaurants, stores and other businesses via Web-enabled cell phones and other mobile devices. Google’s local search service for mobile will be available in the United States and Canada at http://mobile.google.com/local, or from the main Google search page on mobile devices starting Tuesday morning.
Yahoo Inc. in October rolled out its mobile search service, which included local search, amid a fierce rivalry. Google Local for mobile will enable users to see 10 local search results. The service, which integrates the location of the businesses in search results on a map, also provides addresses, phone numbers and driving directions.
Google’s mobile local search service does not currently carry ads.
Web search companies have been keen to break into the local advertising market, which the Kelsey Group expects to reach $5.1 billion in the United States by 2009. The market research firm sees local search advertising accounting for about two-thirds of that total.
Local search ad spending hit $162 million in 2004, the Kelsey Group said.