Google Local Finder and Google Maps: What's the Difference?

Most Google tools are designed to do different things, but two of their products can seem like they’re identical: Google Local Finder and Google Maps.

Both give out local business information, which begs the question – how do they differ and when does a search favor one tool over the other?

Why two tools?

The reason for having two systems is actually pretty straightforward. It all comes back to user intent:

  1. Google Local Finder returns results within a small geographic area, making it easy to find nearby businesses. It’s tied to Google My Business listings and is typically triggered by a user clicking on a local pack result.
  2. Google Maps takes a broader approach to results and isn’t as focused on a small geographic area. This is because it was originally conceived as a mapping engine; a tool that can help you plan your journey and find services such as gas stations, hotels, and restaurants en-route.

In short, Maps are for broader searches and Local Finder is for searches where there’s specific intent to find a certain type of local business.

Google My Business Gold Product Expert Krystal Taing expands on this:

“Typically when I begin searches in Maps, I am seeing a broader area of results being served as well as categories of businesses. The results in the Local Finder are usually more specific and display more detail about the businesses. The Maps-based results are delivered in a manner that shows users desire discovery and browsing. This is different from…

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