On the Google Blog there’s an official announcement of the Plus Box feature. This feature allows extra information to be shown next to individual search results. The feature isn’t completely new, as several bloggers, including Google’s own Matt Cutts have written about it (see search engine land’s post with links to a few of them).
There are two types of Plus Box result: Stock information and maps. I don’t find stock information that interesting, but I love the maps Plus Box. If you search for a business and Google knows its address, there will be a map shown next to the search result with a marker where the address is.
At this moment most (all?) of the results are from the US. You can search for restaurants in New York and you’ll see a few examples (at the bottom of the first page). Sadly I haven’t found any business with a Map Plus Box in The Netherlands (or elsewhere in Europe). The only result with a maps Plus Box you’ll get when searching for restaurants in Amsterdam is Amsterdam Restaurant in New York 🙂
The Google Blog says they are working hard to increase the availability and I hope they will add availability of non-US businesses soon.
I’m not sure a lot of people now how they can add their business information to Google so it’ll show up in the Plus Box or in a Google Maps search. You can add your own information by using the Local Business Center. See more information at the Webmaster Help Center.
In The Netherlands most companies are registered in the Chamber of Commerce register (KvK) and this information automatically shows up in a Google Maps search. At the Local Business Center you can change and add your information (images, description, categories, etc). Before these changes will show up in the search results you have to enter a PIN you’ll get by snail mail sent to your business address.
In the Local Business Center you can also see some kind of statistics, I don’t know what kind of stats it’ll show, because I haven’t received the PIN yet. I’ve changed my information on March 8.
According to the Google Blog there will be more Plus Boxes in the future. One has already been spotted, the Video Plus Box, which shows a video in the Plus Box. I’m curious whether this will only show Youtube and Google Video results, or also videos of Google’s competitors?