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Watch out, Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Foursquare.

Search engine giant Google is launching a new feature that is set to make an impact on today’s online restaurant ratings and information market.

According to news reports, Google is now offering a new restaurant search service that allows users to find and view restaurant menus in a display at the top of search results. The announcement, made by the company on a Google+ post, means that sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Foursquare – all platforms for collecting restaurant reviews, ratings, and information – may have new competition.

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Addressing consumers, the post on the company’s social network read, “Next time you’re planning a brunch or a date night, check to make sure the menu has something to satisfy everyone in your group, without having to browse through several restaurants’ websites.”

“Just search Google to show you the menu for the eatery you’re considering and you can see it right on the top of your search page – complete with tabs for different parts of the menu (like appetizers, brunch or dinner) and, often, prices – before you make your reservation.”

Right now, the new search feature is available only in the US, but individual users and business owners may expect it to be rolled out in other parts of the world in these coming weeks. The move is expected by many industry observers to help Google tighten the grip on local searches, which is crucial at a time when so many consumers are using their computers and mobile devices to find places to eat.

When it comes to catching up, though, the search engine giant still has a long way to go.

Wrote Liberty Voice’s Bonnie Sludikoff: “In the event that this new Google feature takes off, there may be a few indicators of whether that will be a problem for Yelp and Urbanspoon. Will Google’s menu searching capabilities be the downfall of Yelp and Urbanspoon in spite of how well-established both sites have become? Google has a long way to go in order to catch up, but the idea that other sites should feel threatened might be premature at this point.”

(Image credit: Google)

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.