Algorithm Rolled Out: April, 2010

Google Places is Google’s local business search results listing. When a user searches for local information, Google Places shows at the top of the search results. The Places API is a service that uses HTTP requests to return information about locations. This API defines places as establishments, physical sites, or important points of interest.

It works by presenting on a tiny map the location of companies that have registered with Google Places and are related to the user’s search. Links to these businesses’ websites display next to the map.

Google Places registration is free. In addition to the location and web address, companies might offer opening hours and images of their products or services. Google Places is especially essential for companies that primarily serve local clients or whose customers are looking for something in a specific place (e.g. hotels, amusement parks, etc.).

Introducing the API

The following location requests are now available:

  • Place Search returns a list of locations depending on the user’s current location or search query.
  • Place Details returns more precise information about a location, including user reviews.
  • Place Photographs gives you access to millions of location-related photos in Google’s Place database.
  • Place Autocomplete fills in the name and/or address of a location as users enter.
  • Query Autocomplete is a text-based geographic search query prediction technology that returns recommended questions as users write.

Each service is accessible through HTTP and produces either a JSON or an XML answer. All Places service queries must utilize the https:// protocol and provide an API key.

A place ID is used by the Places API to uniquely identify a location. See the Place IDs documentation for further information on the format and usage of this identifier throughout the Places API and other APIs.

Policies and Terms

Any application that uses the Places API or Places Autocomplete service must follow the guidelines outlined in the Places API Policies and the Google Maps Platform Terms of Service. The use quota for the Places API and Google Place Autocomplete is detailed in the Places API Usage and Billing documentation.

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