The “Pigeon” update is Google’s new algorithm to provide more accurate, useful and relevant local search results. It was launched on July, 2014 for US English results. The algorithm affects search results within both Google Maps and Google Web Search. Now, local results will be connected more cohesively to standard web site rankings. This will help provide more specific results for location specific queries.
“Pigeon” is the biggest update released by Google for the local search queries. Google said that this algorithm has significantly improved their distance and location ranking parameters. While clarity on “distance and location ranking parameters” is yet to be explored, it seems that the increased exactness will affect dense neighbourhoods, also known as “informal space”. With distance and location as its key search strategies, this update will alter the local listings in the searches. This update will return better results for queries that use both the traditional keywords and phrases or colloquial term for local neighbourhoods.
In July, 2014 Pigeon was a US release only and by the end of December few other locations like UK, Canada and Australia experienced Pigeon effect. As of now, there is no news of releases in other languages or locations.
Although, some businesses have been hit due to these refinements lately, it is expected that the effort by Google to provide preference to local search results will be very useful for the users and local businesses in the long run.