Type What You're Looking For
Ask and you shall receive: The simplest way to find a local business or resource is to type it into the search box at the top of the Google Local screen, such as thai restaurants, Cincinnati, OH; WiFi, Somerville, MA; storage facilities Los Vegas, NV; or Hotels near Logan Airport, and then click Search. A map appears with the results mapped and labeled with letters; a key to the map appears on the right side of the screen.
Searching for hotels, restaurants, or other services near airports can be tricky, and if you're not careful, you get incorrect results. You get the best results if you use airport codes, such as LAX for Los Angeles' airport, or BOS for Boston's Logan airport. Oddly enough, if you use the airport's official name, you might get strange results or no results at all. If you don't know the airport code, type the name of the city, and the word airportfor example, Hotels near Boston airportand you should get good results.
Click the Category
In some instances when you type a local search and click Search, you see a category listing at the left side of the screen in addition to your results. It might contain a category as well as several subcategories, for example, Restaurants, Restaurant Thai. Click the category or subcategory to see more related listings in the area where you're searching.
Visit the Business
To get more information about any of the businesses on the map, click the location on the map itself (click its letter pin), or click the listing to the left of the map. The map moves to that location, and a balloon appears with information about the business, including the name, address, and links to reviews, directions, and more information.
The balloon has two tabs on itan Address tab and a Details tab. Click both to get all the information you can find about the place of business. The Details tab has information such as what kind of payment is accepted, the business hours, and so on. Keep in mind that, oddly enough, the Details tab doesn't always have more information than the Address tab. So click them both.
Google Local gives the most detail about the United States and Canada, and the second most detail about the United Kingdom (that is, you might not get a Details tab for locations in the UK). At the moment, Google Local provides no details for locations elsewhere in the world, but that might change as Google updates the information it stores about cities across the world.
Read Reviews and Guidebook Listings
If the business (such as restaurant) or location has been reviewed by users, a Reviews link appears on the Address tab. Click the link, and you see the list of reviews that are typically from people who have visited the restaurant and are posted on sites such as www.dine.com and www.citysearch.com. You can read the summary of each review and click a link to read the full review.
If the location has been described or reviewed in any of a variety of guidebooks, such as www.mobiletravelguide.com, links to the descriptions or reviews appear on the Address tab. Because Google gets the reviews from many places, the site you are researching might have more than one link to a review. Click any of the links for details.
Search Within the Map
When a map is displayed on your screen, you can search that location and nearby locations for businesses without having to type the name of the location. For example, if you've done a search for restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that map is displayed, you can now search for hotels by just typing Hotels at the top of the screen; the map shifts to display the hotels in Cincinnati.
Be careful when you have a map displayed because searching can lead to very confusing results. No matter what you type in the search box, it searches only through the area of the currently displayed map and the nearby region. So, for example, if you have a map of Cambridge, Massachusetts, on your screen, and you type Hotels in Cincinnati, OH into the search box, you get no results because Google searches only through the Cambridge area. If you're viewing a map and want to search for businesses or resources in another part of the country, click the Find businesses link at the top of the page, and fill out that form.