Google today is updating its app and mobile web experience in the U.S. to help web searchers more easily find things to do – like concerts, art exhibits, lectures, festivals, meetups, sporting events, and more – which are happening nearby, either now or in the future.
The company says it’s rolling out this new feature now because it sees millions of daily search queries related to finding local events and activities.
However, what’s left unsaid is that the public events space is something Facebook has grown to dominate – 100 million people use the feature daily, as of last fall, and 650 million use it across Facebook. Facebook Page owners often keep a running list of their upcoming events, which Facebook users can subscribe to, mark as interested in attending, or click to indicate they’re going. Event activity then populates back to the News Feed, giving the events the potential to virally spread among users’ friends. Facebook even offers its own standalone Events app.
In addition, users also often turn to ticket sellers’ apps over web searches when looking to buy tickets to concerts or other sporting events – again, cutting Google out of the equation.
Google’s answer to these ongoing threats is to do what it does best: organize information and make it more easily accessible.
The company has worked with a number of event-related sites to make their content eligible to display in Google Search. The events will appear when users type in a related query, like “jazz concerts in Austin” or “art events this weekend.”
At launch, Google has pulled in data from Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Meetup, Vividseats, Jambase, LiveNation, Burbio, Allevents.in, Bookmyshow.com, StubHub, Bandsintown, Yext and Eventful. This list of supported sites will expand in time, Google says, and it has also created developer guidelines for anyone else who wants to make sure their own event listings are surfaced in a similar way through Google Search.
In the updated search experience, you’ll be able to see the details about each event at glance – like its title, date, time, and location. You can also tap on “more events” to be taken to a screen with an expanded list of suggestions. When you find one you like, you can click through to buy tickets from the website directly.
While Google is certainly giving these local events more exposure, the ultimate goal is to keep mobile users on Google, instead of other apps. The company hasn’t officially partnered with any of the event sites, nor is it taking commission on ticket sales facilitated through its search engine.
Users will be able to use the new events listing like a weekly activity planner, too. You can tap on options like “today,” “tomorrow,” “this weekend,” “next week” and “next weekend,” in order to see which events are happening when.
Beyond searching for a specific type of activity on Google, you can also trigger the events results to appear by typing in “events near me” into search.
The new feature is available starting today in the U.S. on mobile web and the Google app for both iOS and Android devices. Google does not yet have plans for an international expansion.