After Beta testing, Google has launched its Carousel view for local results to all U.S. users. The carousel format was already available for tablet users since December 2012 and is now available for desktop users.
The carousel format will initially provide a horizontal view of hotels, bars, and restaurants along with thumbnails, ratings, and Google+ reviews on the top of the search result screen. The new format looks attractive and provides a colorful summary for users at a single glance. Users can browse sideways on the carousel while the traditional vertical result format is retained below the carousel along with a display of Google Maps on the right side of the vertical results.
This new style offers a chance for a lot more businesses to feature on local search results than before thanks to the horizontal format. If you are one such business that wants to catch the eyes of users with this new format then you must ensure that the thumbnail photo of your business stands out from the others in the carousel. You should use high resolution photos for your business although it will be Google that will eventually decide as to which photo is displayed above your name on the carousel.
However, Google gives no guarantee that your business will appear on the carousel during a search. Google’s search algorithms will also be used for Google Maps and will decide as to which businesses get displayed on the carousel. Even though this feature is presently limited to U.S. users in English and only features during searches for restaurants, bars, and hotels, Google states that it is trying out various interfaces and styles before expanding this format for other countries.
Google will probably roll out the carousel feature to global users and for all search results based on the U.S. experiment. Meanwhile, if you are a business in the U.S. that qualifies for this feature then it may be time to say Cheers!