iPhone and Android: How to Use Google’s “Near Me Now”
Google recently rolled out its supposed Urbanspoon and Yelp killer in the form of “Near Me Now,” a quick and easy location-based search that melds Google’s vast Local search database with smartphone GPS capabilities. Currently, Near Me Now works for iPhone and Android users and lets you find out what’s nearby, read reviews, get directions and phone numbers and more. Here’s a quick tutorial for the iPhone, though the instructions will be the same for Android phones such as the HTC Hero and HTC Droid Eris.
To enable Google Near Me Now search, you’ll have to do two things: Sign in and allow sending of location to Google.com. Do this by touching “Sign in” at Google.com from your mobile browser.
After you’re logged in, touch “Settings.”
Scroll down and select “Yes” for “Allow use of device location?” Touch “Save.”
You’ll now see “Near me now” right under the “Google Search” bar. Notice that my phone also shows my location.
Touch “Near me now” and you’ll get a quick menu of categories. Note that my GPS signal was too weak to peg my exact location. If this happens to you, move to somewhere with better signal and hit “update.”
You’ll notice that “Explore right here” is activated once I get better GPS signal. Plus, it seems that my basement is in Banksville while my kitchen is in Pittsburgh. (I’ll have to remember that come tax time…)
Touch “Explore right here” and you’ll see a list of the closest businesses. As you can see, it’s pretty dang precise. “Precision Contracting” is my neighbor’s home-based business. Greentree Hardware is just a block away. Touch it for more information.
As you can see, I got all the information I needed about this place without typing a word. Like Google Goggles, this is touted as one of Near me now’s best features: you don’t have to tediously input business names and addresses to run a search. In the past, I’d have to do a Google search for “hardware stores in Pittsburgh” and then do another search for “Greentree Hardware reviews” etc. Here, it was just a matter of three touches and I’m already viewing reviews, contact information and directions. Not bad.
Coupled with Google Goggles, this means a lot for the evolution of mobile search and the general convergence going on at Google. Google has steadily been pulling all the information you need into instant results, obviating the need to click through to another webpage (as demonstrated by the Google Quick Search Box). Except for the fact that Google pulls some of its reviews from third-party sites, the concern that Google’s search is becoming the one and only “app for that” – whether you’re looking up a dictionary definiton, finding a good restaurant or getting directions – is very valid.
What are your thougths? Will you switch to using Google’s “Near me now” instead of Urbanspoon and other local business search sites? Let us know in the comments.
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