Google has developed one of the most complete local databases online and it is continuing to seek to enhance that information with third party deals. The latest such deal will integrate classifieds, business listings and coupons from Southern CA-based PennySaver, which is published by Harte-Hanks.
PennySaver is a free local “shopper” (print publication) that offers a broad range of local ad content, much of it from the traditional classifieds categories of jobs, cars and real estate. Its coupons and listings content will appear in Google Maps results.
While the content offered is broader, the deal is similar to that struck with ValPak last year for local coupons.
The coupons and listings content will appear in Google Maps results. The content will offer Google users access to some true “mom and pop” local businesses, which are serviced by PennySaver and may not be well represented in larger media publications such as yellow pages and traditional newspapers. For PennySaver, like other local media outlets providing feeds or listings to Google, this is an extension of the company’s traditional value proposition to local merchants.
One of the persistent issues in local search is the question of how broadly to cast the net in terms of the content offering. Right now, Google Maps is largely a “yellow pages” product (service business listings) — classifieds are handled via “OneBox” results typically on Google.com (e.g., Seattle Real Estate). The inclusion of the PennySaver content starts to incorporate classifieds information into Maps.
It will be interesting to see how far Google goes down the path of incorporating a broader range of local content into Maps.