Google has launched Google Boost, a platform for Google Places that acts as sponsored search in local results. Currently, it has been released in San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago; with more cities slated to join soon.
The Boost ads will provide the phone number and address of the location, which is located by a combination of the vertical keyword and the location keyword (such as movie theater, vertical, and Houston, location). Additionally, customer reviews will be accessible via the ad as well as a maps marker and star rating.
Google's ad placement in correlation with local search is predicted to be successful, especially because the results will be highly relevant to the searchers need and area. This is poised to be a much higher success rate than, say, Facebook Places, where users aren't necessarily searching for things to purchase or local businesses to visit. One caveat to Boost search, though, is that the traffic can't be successfully tracked, since it arrives as a result of other search queries as opposed to a direct URL. Time will tell if this will be tweaked in the future or if Boost and AdWords ads will continue to share the same Internet real estate.
Currently, Tandem Interactive has initiated the Boost in our Houston area businesses, and will provide the same updates for our other client cities as the capabilities roll out.