Category Archives: Local

The Trouble with Local-Mobile-Social Search

BeerI live on the road. Every week, I’m in a different city or new neighborhood, looking for new places to eat, drink, work, sleep and so on. As such, I typically turn to my iPhone for guides and recommendations. The main apps I use for this: Yelp and Foursquare.

But neither does the job at all well. Over the last few days (I’m in San Francisco currently), I’ve struggled to find good breakfast, lunch, and beer joints.

Let’s use the search for a good beer as an example: Friday night, I wanted to find a bar within a 10 minute walk of my hotel (so there was a geolocation element to my search). I wanted to know if the place would be tolerable on a Friday night (as in, not too crowded, not too loud, no cover charge, etc). Most importantly: I wanted to know if the place had decent beer on tap.

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What Users Are Searching For Locally

In an effort to try and understand what end users are actually looking for, when it comes to local, I went to Google Adwords, and using their keyword tool I pulled the top 50 things people search for using Google, and included the word “local”:

  • local news
  • news local
  • local newspaper
  • local weather
  • local new
  • local jobs
  • local business
  • local job
  • jobs local
  • local search
  • local newspapers
  • local paper
  • local businesses
  • local papers
  • local food
  • local listings
  • buy local
  • local sales
  • local marketing
  • local clubs
  • local produce
  • local ads
  • local ad
  • local girls
  • local advertising
  • local chat
  • local music
  • local market
  • local temp
  • local deals
  • local weather forecast
  • local girl
  • local bars
  • local shopping
  • local bands
  • local pages
  • local classifieds
  • local women
  • local sports
  • local dining
  • local deal
  • local singles
  • local dating
  • local directories
  • local hotels
  • local farms
  • local harvest
  • local pubs
  • local business marketing
  • local pizza

Of course this represents a conscious search using the word “local” and not just typing pizza and relying on their location to localize the results.  But it still gives good insight into what people are looking for when searching locally, and hopefully we can work to build more local web and mobile applications that deliver these results for user.

HyperLocal App Idea: Historical Stories

I’ve always been a history buff. If I hadn’t discovered programming in high school I would have ended up going to college for a history degree. In my travels I spend a lot of time walking around finding historical sites and buildings, to learn whatever I can.

When I was in Philadelphia, New York and Boston a couple of weeks I kept stumbling across amazing old buildings, but knew nothing about them. I would check-in using Foursquare in hopes of using the location to find more information about the place, later when online.

I was thinking it would be nice to have a Foursquare like check-in app, where I could look for sites around my location, check in at them and either get more textual information for reading or tap into some sort of audio podcast for listening to historical stories as I walk.

In my research I’ve come across APIs InfoChimps, providing access to Wikipedia articles associated with geographic information, and I’m sure if I looked harder I could find more resources. It would take several APIs like CityGrid for places, Foursquare for check-in, InfoChimps for Wikipedia, and a couple other tools for text to audio and other richer places data to augment what CityGrid offers.

A historical stories mobile app would definitely take some engineering, but its something you could find a wide audience of history buffs to use, and easily monetize using CityGrid mobile advertising. Wish i had more time–let me know if your interested.