Google today unveiled an Australian-specific blog, which is apparently the first English-language country specific Google blog in the world.
You can also set up a personalised version of google.com.au with themes now, and the direction appears to be that Google is setting about getting local.
This is going to be important. I have no doubt that local search is going to be the single biggest growth area in the search market but to make local search work, you do need to work with the local communities and understand various cultural nuances and sensitivities. I’m expecting to see Google do a lot of work in this area.
Interesting, that Google would choose Australia to move ahead in this regard first. Australia’s a bit of a unique market in the regard that this is the only market in the world where Yahoo has set up a partnership with a local company, which it’s done here to form Yahoo!7. With both Microsoft and Yahoo having Australian partners, they have a clear advantage in starting down that local path if they can convert. For Google to compete here, they may have to more actively operate as a media company or at least have a higher presence. Maybe, that’s partly why we get the first local blog?