More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Google has been testing different alternatives to the carousel display for a few months now.

Yesterday Greg Sterling announced the new display is rolling out and told Mike Blumenthal via email that this is not a test. Google confirmed the update is rolling out.

The new display only shows a 3 pack of results, in a different style than the current pack.

Image Credit: Dr Pete on Twitter

Here is a round up of coverage so far...

<a href="">Google Drops Local Carousel For Hotels, Restaurants & Other Local Listings</a>

Google is dropping its horizontal Carousel display of local search results in several categories: restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and hotels. It’s being replaced by a 3-pack of organic listings and some new secondary pages.

<a href="">Google Rolls Out Carousel Replacement</a>

Update 7:00: Greg Sterling notes that Google has confirmed that this is now being rolled out.

It is similar to the display first seen in August but with three differences. One, the display is only showing at position 1 of the organic results and two, there is no embedded map.

The striking third difference though is that when you click through one of the list results you are presented with only a Knowledge Panel that appears dead center in the results and not off to the side. Depending on the KP content, virtually all other information can appear below the fold.

<a href="">Which Terms Trigger the New Entertainment Pack</a>

The new carousel replacement, like the carousel, shows for entertainment and recreational searches. This entertainment pack almost always (but not quite always) starts at position one right below any ads. I wanted to see which terms that previously showed the Carousel were now showing the new Entertainment Pack.

<a href="">Google Debuts New Look For Hotel Booking Ads As The Carousel Disappears</a>

Ads appear on new listing pages for individual hotels accessible from a new 3-pack of organic listings.

The grand, awkward Carousel experiment appears to be coming to an end — for local listings at least. Google is abandoning the Carousel of horizontal listings that appeared at the top of local search results for hotels, restaurants and a few other verticals. With the changes, Google is now displaying hotel “Book A Room” ads in the ad list format it’s been steadily introducing in the knowledge panel.

Above are all just brief snippets. Click through to see the screenshots and full commentary.

I had carousel yesterday, then for awhile had the update and am now back to the carousel.

Are you seeing the update right now?

Try New York Hotels or Restaurants NYC (with location set to NY.)

<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="">
<meta property="og:image" content="">

When I'm signed into Google I see the new results. When signed out and/or incognito I see the carousel.

Regardless, assuming as Greg Sterling reported via Google that this is the "new look" here are some observations on restaurant searches from my end:
While I do a lot of restaurant searches in my market I see very few examples of google adwords.

Alternatively the hotel market is Full and voluminous with ads.

Now, with the new view if I do a search for restaurants of any type I get a 3 pac and with those 3 alternatives here is what I don't see:
No map
No Address
No phone number
No link
No complete hours
No menu

I think that is a pretty obvious list. As a consumer or a diner the info I'm most interested in is missing.

Frankly at this moment I'll get more helpful info by searching locally in Yelp, Bing, or a directory.

As a restaurant operator, either as one of the top 3 in the PAC or as one eliminated from the critical info isn't easily available. As a restaurateur, If I hadn't advertised before...I'm a lot likelier to advertise now.

In sum I see less helpful info...and I see a competitive environment that suggests that as an operator I advertise.

Of course if I'm a consumer, I think I'd migrate off google if I was looking for local restaurants. Its purposefully withholding ALL the vital information.

What gives???? That is not just a terrible user seems blatantly obvious.
Thanks as always for your insights Dave.

I still don't have the update so am working blind over here. :(

Here is another good post I just read at iCrossing:

<a href="">Impact of Google?s New Local Universal 3-Pack </a>
More detailed insights from Mike:

<a href="">Google Achieves 100% Monetization Above the Fold with New Pak</a>

<a href="">Some Thoughts On the New Pak Results from Google</a>
With regard to Mike's subsequent points and thoughts I'm glad he referenced the miserable user experience in point 4. I agree its one of the worst local user experiences they have ever put out.

Possibly the worst. After all, unlike years ago, they have tremendous data on businesses and have worked out many of the kinks that created problems 5,6, 8 years ago.

The horrendous presentation seems to deliberate to me. But its sort of a slap to users; certainly on the restaurant side in the US. Who would ever think that users want picky little information such as address, a link, phone numbers etc.???

To contrast do a search for restaurants in Edinburgh, Scotland using; and go to "list view" for "more restaurants. The information is infinitely more helpful.,-3.190691,13z/am=t

But then again possibly the engineers at google know much much more than we do. Americans don't need address, phone #, maps or link information when they are searching for places to dine.

Or could there be another reason for these changes? :D
I'm still trying to get my arms around this new 3 pack.

How are these generated? Are they organic local listings or are they ads? Or some weird hybrid? And if the latter, does it mean you need to be running PPC ads in order to display?

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