Google is running a new test where they are replacing the usual thumbnail with map marker for local restaurant results with one showing off a photo that showcases the restaurant instead. These are showing up for desktop results. It is interesting to note that they do not have an accompanying map on the right hand side of the results page like we often see for local pack results.
Here is how it looks in the test I saw. This is more similar in style to how restaurants appear in Google’s mobile search results.
They seem to be pulling some of the images from the Google My Business listing, so local businesses can influence which photo shows up.
This style is quite similar to the change we saw where hotels were having a location show up in the hotel pack-style listing that allowed searchers to enter date information to check availability from right in the search results. And Google also tested adding thumbnails with company logos last month as well.
Here is how it appears on the search results page as well.
I was only able to replicate it in one iOS browser across multiple devices, the remaining showed the usual map thumbnail instead of an image related to the restaurant. Nor could I replicate it for non-restaurant searches, so it seems this is definitely restaurant-specific.
I personally like this test, but I often search for restaurants not necessarily concerned with how close/far they are, so long as they are in the general area. The image thumbnails tell me much more than what I get from the tiny map thumbnail.
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