Thursday, January 7, 2010 | 3:28 PM
Last month, Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, demonstrated at the Computer History Museum the ability to search by using your location as the query. Starting today, you can try this yourself by going to Google.com in your iPhone or Android browser and clicking on "Near me now" once your location has been provided by your phone.
"Near me now" was designed to address two user problems. First, we wanted to make it fast and easy to find out more about a place in your immediate vicinity, whether you're standing right in front of a business or if it's just a short walk away. For example, you may want to know what other customers think about a restaurant before you go inside (see quick video below) or what they have been raving about on the menu before you order. By selecting the "Explore right here" option, you can find out more about a place "right here" with just a few clicks.
Second, we wanted to make searching for popular categories of nearby places really simple. Imagine that you emerge from the subway station and you want to grab a coffee, but you don't see a coffee shop around you. You can simply search for all nearby coffee shops by using "Near me now". To search other categories of places not shown, "Browse more categories" provides access to our local search product with more category choices.
"Near me now" is currently available in the US for iPhone (OS 3.x) or Android-powered devices with version 2.0.1 or later. You must first enable location in order for "Near me now" to appear, and "Explore right here" works only if the phone provides location accuracy within approximately a city block.