Google+ Local: Next step in search engines?

Google's Marissa Mayer on "CBS This Morning" on May 30,2012
Google's Marissa Mayer on "CBS This Morning" on May 30,2012

(CBS News) NEW YORK -- In 1999, Marissa Mayer was the 20th employee hired at Google.

Over the years, she's been responsible for a series of firsts, in an industry that's often seen as not very female-friendly.

As Google's vice president of product management, Mayer is the youngest woman on Fortune magazine's list of the most powerful women in tech.

She chatted with "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose on the day Google launched which is, in effect, a location-based social media search engine available on desktops and mobile devices.

CNET: Google+ Local launches today

The tech industry finds giants overlapping each others' turf, Rose pointed out.

There's a "confluence" of different areas, Mayer agreed and that, she says, is "really exciting."

Google+ Local recommends places "based on places you've liked and reviewed in the past, places your friends have liked. We recommend some places, all based on your location. And you can also do searches," Mayer explained.

The new offering, she says, is designed to combine "this amazing local/mobile/social moment," because your phone knows where you are.

And ads on mobile devices, she said, make up "one of the biggest and fastest growing new areas for us at Google ... but it's very early. When you look at mobile usage, one of the most remarkable things about Google maps is that more than 50 percentage of the usage of Google maps comes from phones.

"And that will be true forever. ... It's going to keep going up because, the truth is, maps are a killer application on the phone. So, there's just this huge opportunity around mobile, because your mobile device understands location to provide you great information, to provide great advertisements and context for users there."

The Stanford grad actually started out wanting to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. She had 14 job offers out of school.

"Overall," Mayer said, "I think Silicon Valley is a great place for women. But that said, I tend to think of my experience there, especially at Google, not as one of a woman, but as a geek. If you're a geek, Silicon Valley and Google are great places to be. ... The nice thing about tech is it's a fast-moving industry. It's easy to get caught up, have new ideas, really get ahead. That fast-moving nature of it makes it both an intimidating industry, but also an industry where, if you do jump in, you can make a big impact quickly.

"Over time ... there's just more and more women computer science graduates. So, on a percentage basis, we might not be doing that well, but overall, there are a lot of women entering technology, and more and more women starting companies, which is great to see."