Did Apple just become a mobile, local search engine?
With the announcement that in iOS6 the default maps application will no longer be powered by Google Apple has suddenly become a pretty major player in the local search space.
There are millions of iPhone & iPad users in the UK and a large percentage of them use the maps application to find local businesses rather than going to Google in the browser. In the past those queries were being handled by Google, in the future they will be handled via Apple in partnership with Yelp.
Around 40-53% of all mobile search queries are related to location so it’s easy to see why people will use the new maps app to perform their searches.
Google was predicted to make $6.25 billion in mobile ad revenue this year so if Apple can divert lots of searches through their own search engine this would make a huge difference to the revenue figures for both companies.
Assuming that rankings in the search engine will be powered by review data then Yelp just became an essential platform to consider when performing local SEO.