The next big thing is . . .

Google Local

In Beta development. This thing is better than an online telephone directory (bye-bye, Yahoo!) because it includes entities that aren’t even listed in the telephone directory.

Not only is it already simplifying my life (found a place to donate clothes closer to home) but will help out churches that don’t have designated phone, provided they have a page with the phone number online.

The bad news is that page rank is going to become more and more important. My former church in Canon, Georgia didn’t show up for a local search in its own zip code, but the churches in nearby Athens and Clemson, South Carolina did. Why? Canon church doesn’t have an active web page, I suppose?

Clayton Memorial Universalist Unitarian Church, Newberry, South Carolina only showed up because of late members’ obituaries, published on newspapers’ website, with a notice that donations could go to the church.

So there’s a lesson and an opportunity, even for churches that earlier “didn’t need” a web page.

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