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Local Advertising gets a Google Boost

Google announced [1] on Monday a new addition to its local business advertising platform called Google Boost. The new service, which is currently available in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago, enables local business owners to easily create search advertisements directly from their Google Places account. The ads will appear in the Sponsored Links sections of Google’s SERP, as well as on Google Maps, and will include basic information about the company, location, telephone number, ratings, and reviews. [2] To participate, businesses need only provide a short business description, a website or Google Places page, business categories and a monthly budget. From there, Google promises that their system “automatically sets up your ad campaign - figuring out the relevant keywords that will trigger your ad to appear on Google and Google Maps, and how to get the most out of the budget you allotted. You’ll only pay when a potential customer actually clicks on your ad, and you can also view basic ad performance data from your Google Places dashboard.” Google says it will wait to evaluate the data from San Francisco, Houston and Chicago before rolling out Boost in other locations. The announcement shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Google has been hinting at its plans to increase location-based efforts over last year. In April 2010 Google introduced Google Places [3], the forerunner to Google Boost. Then last month, Google’s Neal Mohan, VP of Product Management, and Barry Salzman, Managing Director of Media and Platforms, discussed [4] how Teracent’s technology will soon enable Google to use geographical location, as well as other factors, to alter ad content in real-time to provide more relevant ads. Google acquired Teracent in February 2009. And just two weeks ago, Google moved Marissa Mayer [5], formerly Google’s VP of search products and user experience, to run the location business.