The iPhone and Android are a couple of the phones using GPS to pinpoint location and software is leveraging that technology to deliver up content that is localized to the phones coordinates. It's kind of creepy until you're hungry and need to know where the closest In-N-Out or White Castle is. Social butterflies are in heaven because they can share their location with anyone whenever they need to. No need to ask directions, your phone already figures it out when you just tell it who you want to meet. And if you have a current Android, you get turn-by-turn verbal directions to go with it (for free).
The wireless applications are just getting started but the business and marketing potential is huge. In addition to our phones, Google and Bing are integrating far more localized results in our search. I'm still trying to determine how relevant localized results are when doing a general search. They have not been intrusive on Google, a little bit on Bing but I do not think I've actually clicked on any of them because I was looking for specific information, not local information.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the future. Will localization become intrusive in general search or will they figure out when local matters and not? I know ordering Pizza last night was a 7 click process (and that's with selecting 3 items on the pizza) because I just typed in the brand of pizza I wanted and Google already had the closest place with phone number and offer in the results.
Localization makes complete sense to me on mobile devices, in fact, it's about time. The jury is still out on how it is integrated into our online search.
Not only can it affect the quality of our not-locally-relevant search terms but it effects our ability to do search engine optimization and search engine marketing (keyword buys). I've seen for myself keywords that I had at number 1 with general search get bumped down as far as two places by localized search results, even though there was no local relevance. This impacts my investment in SEO but also may affect my quality score and therefore the price I pay for keywords. These may become real cost concerns and need to be part of forecasting considerations.
What has your experience been with localized search online or on-phone?