Google’s new search features could make shopping locally safer

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Shopping in the age of the pandemic might be an experience fraught with anxiety for some.

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out search improvements for local shopping.
  • You’ll now be able to filter your product searches to see which shops have them locally.
  • You’ll also be able to see if your chosen store offers curbside pickup as well.

Google Search is becoming a better shopping tool in the post-COVID world. The company has added new features that’ll help you plan your shopping trips with an eye for safety.

First, Google’s added a new proximity filter of sorts. You’ll now be able to filter results by “Nearby” for shoppers who want to pick up a product locally. You can also add the words “near me” or “nearby” to a search to trigger the filter automatically.

Google Local Search

If you’re using the new “Nearby” filter, Google will bubble up a map view with more information about the products and retailers. You’ll be able to see which items match closely to what you’re looking for and which stores have them in stock. You’ll also be able to quickly parse opening and closing times, as well as their relative locations to yourself.

There’s also a new focus on curbside pickup and safer shopping. Google says that more people than ever are searching for either curbside or in-store pickups to minimise contact while shopping, so it’s now going to add labels for stores that offer those. You’ll be able to see that in the new map view too.

All these changes are rolling out now in Search. For someone who prefers to shop online, they may not mean much. For those who’d much rather do in-person shopping, Google’s at least making it more manageable to err on the side of safety.

These new tools are useful especially as we head into winter. With tech companies content to work from home for the next couple of months, many more of our most used apps and services are going to adapt themselves for our new normal.

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