I was remarking to a co-worker yesterday how nice Google's local business pages are looking.
Check out this example page for a restaurant in my neighborhood in San Francisco, Luna Park. It's pulling in a whole bunch of reviews from various sites, it's now parsing ratings by different criteria, there are tons of images, there are maps and Google street view, and plenty of structured data like hours and payment information.
It's a very nice effort, that draws heavily from content aggregated around the Web, as well as Google's own properties.
And if you are a content publisher that currently gets traffic from organic Google traffic, it's a damn frightening turn of events.
The Luna Park page above is a destination page.
Sure, you can click off to check out the original source of some of the review and image content, but you don't really have to. Pretty much all the information you could ever need is right on that page. And if this page were in play in Google's organic search results, it would certainly rank near the top.
And that's the thing, for a brief period a few weeks ago, I was seeing some of these pages in the organic SERPS.
Was this a foreshadowing of the future, or a glitch?
Google's product pages are starting to look like destination pages as well - here's one for an 8GB iPod.
And here's an example person destination page.
I tend to be a bit paranoid when it comes to Google, but it would appear that they are starting to build out destination pages for every thing - business, product, person, etc. - in the world.
The question is not, "What does Google's move towards being a destination mean for Yelp?" The question is, "What does this mean for the Web?"
Google has become a dominant company by being the most powerful online middleman in history, sitting between the searcher and the destination website. It appears that they may be starting to wonder what would happen if they became the destination.
Perhaps we should be adding Google into this discussion.