I just wanted to use “radii” in a headline…

Mike Blumenthal tweeted yesterdat that he thought the radii of the Google map for various local queries had gotten smaller.

To me it seemed like the radii hadn’t changed much but the map pins had gotten bigger so I decided to compare the map that displayed for me a few months ago for “san francisco restaurants” v. what I see for that query today:

"San Francisco Restaurants" Map October 2010

"San Francisco Restaurants" Map June 2011

Of course this is just one query and GOOG changes things all of the time. This query also could be affected by ranking changes – GOOG may adjust the map radii based on the locations of the top ranked businesses.

If in fact the radii are getting smaller and the visuals are getting bigger, I am guessing that this has something to do with baking more user feedback into the ranking algo for certain queries (e.g. show results where people click/go the most) which also means that there may be more mobile search feedback being incorporated into the Web results. The bigger visuals might make the maps a bit more usable and perhaps point to the influence of alternative browsers such as the iPad where this might really make a difference.

Or they just could be screwing around with your radii.

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8 Response Comments

  • Koozai Mike  June 15, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Certainly seems better that way. Knowing Google it’ll just be another experiment to see the effect on CTR and they’ll then roll out the best version.

  • Yam Regev  June 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

    One more thing (although I’m not really sure how new is it) is that when hovering over the red pinpoints that are in the map, you can see a small label for the business you’re hovering above.


  • Andrew Shotland  June 15, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I don’t recall seeing those before so it could be new Yam

  • Vesselin  June 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Actually, i think the reason is way more casual – the combination of the huge use of any type of mobile devices with a browser and the fact that many local businesses are striving to show up on the maps for local searches and the fact, that way too many marketing services out there rely exclusively on multiple profiles for certain customers and the fact, that instead of dealing with this complete mess, reducing the radius is a fairly simple solution on the Google side. On top of all i think that the BIG Google indexing has begun again and anything from various experiments and projects from Google Labs coming to life, we all should be expecting weird results and statistics in the next few days.
    Cheers and thanks for reading.

  • Andrew Shotland  June 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Nice. The simplest answers are always the best 🙂

  • Brian Bien  June 16, 2011 at 3:57 am

    In April, businesses with very few NAP or link citations started to rank in my area for search queries with city modifiers, as long as these businesses were near the center of the city. My interpretation of these results was that the “proximity to centroid” factor was weighted higher, and consequently, there was a smaller area shown on the map.

  • Imprezzio Marketing  June 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I noticed this happened in Spokane. The map used to show businesses in Spokane Valley and now those businesses got bumped out and the map tightened. Even businesses with tons of reviews and better listings got booted down and replaced by ones closer to the centroid.

  • Steve Pearce  November 7, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Google maps is one of my favorite apps