Google Narrows Targeted Searches

Gretchen Gallen
SILICON VALLEY – In the midst of massive changes across the board for Google Inc., including the launch of its controversial free email service Gmail, a pending Initial Public Offering, and increasing competition from fellow search engines Yahoo! and MSN, Google helmed a new program this week that enables online merchants to get more specific about the geographical areas they target.

Using Internet Protocol address searches, Google AdWords clients have the option of honing in on certain areas of the country and the world, while excluding others.

The new program will open up the small business sector to Google, while at the same time lowering the price of advertising on Google for merchants who only want to pay for specific exposure.

According to Google, advertisers who opt for the selective advertising campaign can specify cities or towns in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. They can also determine the actual radius of where their ad will appear in those towns and cities.

Google is reportedly testing the new program on its general search feature as well.

"Users will be better served with local business results," said Salar Kamangar, Google's director of product management. "We see it as a way to bring in useful local business relationships into the search process."