Believe it or not, people in New York are looking for different things on Google than people in Topeka.
With that in mind, Google has tweaked its Google Suggest search feature to provide localized suggestions for queries in a given metropolitan area. It already suggested different queries based on countries, assuming that Germans were looking for different queries than Italians.
Now searchers in different parts of the same country will get different suggestions for search queries. A quick experiment Friday with colleagues in New York and Boston produced different results for a query containing the letters "pat."
In San Francisco, the first suggestion is the Patelco Credit Union. In Boston, it's the newspaper of record for the suburb of Quincy, the Patriot Ledger. In New York, it oddly suggested "path toronto," the underground mall that Toronto residents use to navigate the downtown area in the frigid winter, rather than the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Localizing search results has long been part of Google's recipe, but it has placed greater and greater emphasis on localizing the entire Google experience in recent years. Google also announced Friday that it has made improvements in spelling corrections for proper names, and that it has expanded its auto-correction feature for frequently misspelled queries to 31 languages.