I recently selected a new Gmail account theme which also required my selecting a country and city for some of the custom themes gmail offers.
From Google about Gmail Themes:
“Some themes change during the day, and we use the location information you provide to correctly time these changes with your local sunrise, sunset, and/or weather. If you select one of these themes, you’ll see a Country/Region drop-down menu appear. Select the country you want, and then enter a city in the field provided. If you don’t enter a city, or enter an invalid one, we’ll set your location to the capital city of the country you selected. When you’re done, click Save.”
Indeed, I tried to set a location other than the one I am in and received the default setting.
Shortly after I had added my correct location and selected my new gmail theme, I ran a Google search for a local business without any geo-modifiers.
I was surprised to find a single Google Maps business box with the correct information baked into my search results.
If I recall correctly, prior to my having supplied my location to get the custom gmail theme; the same business name only search yielded just a web address not a Google Maps business listing.
I am not sure my receiving local business results for non geo-modified terms has occurred coincidentally with my having supplied a specific location to gmail or not.
I have been seeing “Personalized Based On Your Web History” in my search results when signed into my Google account for some time.
Could a combination of the two – my gmail theme location and my prior local business telephone number lookups via my web search history been extrapolated to produce local business listings without my having to enter a geo-modifier?
I logged out of my Google account then cleared my browser’s cookies and cache to see whether if my being logged into my Google account alone was solely responsible for the localized search results.
It doesn’t appear to be.
However, logging out of my Google account also logs me out of my Gmail account.
I then ran three types of searches.
First, I searched for a one word business name, then a two word business name and finally a three word business name – each without a specific location.
Each of these business names are probably exclusive to my local area – yet before I had include the city’s name in each search query to get the search results I do now.
One word generic business name.
Two word generic business name.
Three word generic business name.
Whether Google has integrated location awareness into their search results via a combination of personalized Gmail themes and Google account web search history or not, at least from this laptop it doesn’t appear I will have to include my city’s name to every local business listing I look up from this point forward.