This is a comparison of Google Maps (Google.com) and Yellow Pages (YellowPages.com) for the consumer. The second article is a comparison for the business owner. However, it would serve the business owner well to take a look at the consumer presentation because the things that affect the consumer can have a major impact on the business owner.
The easiest way to compare these two services is to take a look at a real world situation and see how the two entities stack up. Now if you are saying, “Wait a minute, what are you doing comparing Google Maps with the Yellow pages? They aren’t even the same thing.” That’s understandable. At first glance they seem different, maps and yellow pages.
Maybe Google made a mistake. Google Maps was previously know as Google Local Search. In Local Search you could look up businesses and get phone numbers and directions. Google probably changed the name to Google Maps because Maps is a much broader term and encompasses all that Google is doing with their maps. Bottom line, Google Maps is an excellent phone directory.
So, our real world scenario. Let’s say that we are looking for a cosmetic dentist is Santa Monica, Ca that takes Saturday morning appointments.
Let’s start by navigating to YellowPages.com. We are greeted with a pleasant website and what immediately jumps out at us are two text boxes. One says Find and the other says location. I’ll begin with a general search. Under Find I enter Dentist and other Location I enter Santa Monica.
Instantly the YellowPages returns a new web page with eleven different categories. I’m in luck. One of the categories is Dentist – Cosmetic Dentistry. I check the box and click the Find button at the bottom of the page. I’m then greeted by another page and at first I’m a bit confused. I see one dentist listing on the right and this dentist is in Thousand Oaks, easily more than 25 miles away. This certainly isn’t what I’m looking for. Wondering if I entered the correct information my eyes begin to scan the screen and in the left column I first notice a list of cities, Agoura, Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, etc. My thoughts are it should be easier than this. I’ve already entered data and I’m two clicks into the search and I don’t seem to be very close to the finding a dentist in Santa Monica.
Then at the top of the column on the left I notice that I can refine my search and there is text in black letters that doesn’t look like a link but says Santa Monica Listings Only. I click on the link and go to my third web page and I see a list of dentists. The top dentist looks like a paid listing. The phone number is listed with a link to automatically dial it from a mobile phone. There is also a link to the dentists website, a banner ad and links to more info about the dentist like the products and services that he offers and how long he has been in service.
Beneath the paid listing are the regular listings which seem to be listed alphabetically. These listings include the dentists name, the address and the phone number. There is also a link to a map and more info.
At the very bottom of the listing is a link to send the info to a mobile phone (nice). Thre are also links to Map It, Email it, Get Directions, Save the Listing and Save a note if you have a YellowPages account (very nice).
So far there is enough information to make a call. The phone number is listed. But I want to find a cosmetic dentist so I click on the Dentist name. This opens up a new web page that has the same basic information plus some Business Details which contains General Information, Maps and Directions, and User Reviews.
The same menu for sending info to mobile, emailing, directions etc is also on this page.
Let’s now look at the same search on Google Maps and compare the two. I navigate to maps.Google.com and am greeted with a rather familiar looking interface since I do all of my searches on Google anyway. There is only one search box so I simply enter “cosmetic dentist santa monica” and click Search Maps.
Google immediately returns the top ten search results. The dental offices are listed on the left side of the page with alphabetically lettered place markers and a large map is on the right side showing where each of the dental offices are located.
I already feel better about Google. There was one search box. I didn’t have to enter the business category in one box and the location in another. Also, I have instant results and in the right city. I didn’t have to select from a menu of different types of dentist and then refine the search again by city. At this point Google seems much easier to use.
Like the Yellow Pages there is a paid listing at the top of the list. However, it’s obvious that this listing is a paid advertisement because it has a different background color. This clearly separates the paid listing from the organic search results. Beneath the paid listing are the top ten search results lettered from A to J.
These listings aren’t alphabetical and seem in random order until you learn that Google returns results which it thinks are the most relevant to the search words used. A listing consists of the name of the business, the address, and phone number. If a dentist has a customer review there is a blurb from the review beneath the listing.
If you click on the business name or the lettered place marker a large information box almost resembling a cartoon bubble launches from the corresponding place marker on the maps. This place marker contains the same basic information about the business plus a link to the businesses website if the business has one.
This is great. If there is a dentist that looks appealing I can click on a link to his or her website and get much more information. True, the paid dental ad on YellowPages.com had a link to that dentist’s website but none of the other dentist had a web link. That’s probably because at businesses on Yellow pages have to pay a premium to get a web link. Since this service is free on Google, more dentist will have web links which mean there will be much more information for consumers.
If you click on the More Info in the information box a new menu appears that has some of the same information provided by YellowPages.com like reviews and details, but there are also four features here that YellowPages.com doesn’t have; photos, video, user content and web references. Of the four I particularly like the photos and video. Although not many business are using video yet, more are sure to catch on to this opportunity and provide a wealth of information about their business.
In summation I like Google maps more than YellowPages.com. It is easier to use, you can get the exact information that you want with fewer clicks, it allows the business owner to present photos and videos. YellowPages.com is good. A nice clean professional interface. But it’s more time consuming to initiate a search, often requires too many clicks to find the exact information you are looking for and doesn’t allow regular businesses to link to websites unless they pay a premium. Two features I really like on YellowPages.com is the ability to send a business listing to a mobile device and the abilitiy record personal notes on a business listing.