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How people use search engines to find places, things, and businesses is in a constant state of change. As technology has improved, local businesses have gained more and more ways to reach their customers, and the pace of change is only going to speed up in the future. Perhaps the most explosive trends these days are social media and mobile device usage. Social media is something that's happening on the go more than ever before, and a great example of social media working with mobile devices to deliver local content is Google+ Local.
From a mobile device that's using GPS or cell tower signals to become location aware, A whole new set of local functionality is unlocked. Users can use their mobile browsers or download iPhone or Android apps that keep them connected to their Google+ account, and right from the app they can find local businesses based on their current location, and read reviews from other Google+ users or people in their networks. You can also write reviews on the go, share information with your social networks, and even get directions to a local business from wherever you happen to be, by car, by foot, or even by public transportation.
From the browser view, or back home on your laptop, Local is now integrated right into Google+. The important part is that this isn't something that's coming in the future. All of these features that we've just talked about are already here. This is where things are going. Your online experience is becoming more and more tailored to where you physically are, and the lines between local search, social media, and the kinds of devices you're using are beginning to disappear. Over and above Google+, people are using micro-blogging services like Twitter on the go and in a variety of devices from a variety of different apps.
People are checking into physical locations on networks like Foursquare, scanning QR codes to redeem coupons or get more information about something out there in the world, and they're maintaining their relationships through networks like Facebook. This nearly-endless stream of content can be overwhelming, and new apps and new technologies are popping up every single day. Each and every one of these presents an opportunity, but the key is that you'll need to figure out which ones are applicable to your business, and which ones are useful for your customers.
The future of local search is looking brighter than ever. Smartphones and social media are helping people discover businesses in their own town that they might have otherwise overlooked, and the rapid pace at which ideas become reality promises new and innovative things in the future that you'll need to be paying attention to. To further develop your local skills, and to stay up-to-date on the things that are happening in local search, make sure to keep an eye on resources like these, and stay connected to your consumer base. Ultimately, they're the ones that will show you whether you're succeeding in local or not.
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