Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which has slowly been ramping up its local efforts, has now appointed one of its most-visible executives to lead the initiative. Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of search product and user experience, will now head geo and local, while Udi Manber, a VP of engineering for web search, will take over the top search job. Mayer will also now be a member of Google’s operating committee. The change comes as Google is moving to have a single executive oversee each of its principal product areas, rather than break them down by engineering and product.
On the geo/local front, Mayer will oversee a growing number of mobile and web efforts. Over the last month, Google has unveiled a new format for “hyperlocal” mobile ads that include the distance between a mobile phone user and the business mentioned in an ad, and earlier this summer, the company added a new ad format to Google Maps. This spring, the company also overhauled Google Places, which let businesses pay flat fees to promote their listings on search and in Maps.