Google adds 'Near me now' local search tool

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Google announced the introduction of "Near me now" location-based functionality for iPhone and Android smartphone browsing. According to Google, "Near me now" promises make it faster and easier to discover information about sites within a user's immediate vicinity. "For example, you may want to know what other customers think about a restaurant before you go inside 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," write Google mobile engineers John Eric Hoffman and Jussi Myllymaki on the Official Google Mobile Blog.

In addition, "Near me now" simplifies searches for popular categories of nearby places. "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,'" Hoffman and Myllymaki add. "To search other categories of places not shown, ‘Browse more categories' provides access to our local search product with more category choices."

Google notes that "Near me now" is currently available in the U.S. for iPhones running OS 3.x and Android devices running version 2.0.1 or later. Users must first enable location on their handsets for the service to appear, with "Explore right here" only working on devices that provide location accuracy within roughly a city block.

For more on "Near me now":
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry

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