Tag Archives: Discovery

Developer Opportunity: Pinterest + CityGrid

Pinterest is blowing up, its one of those new app crazes that has really struck a chord, primarily with women. Its all over the media and blogosphere, and everyone is talking about staggering user counts and how much traffic can drive to a website.

I started playing with the Pinterest API to see what the potential of the platform is beyond just the consumer side. The API is simple, yet robust and each and every pin potentially has latitude, longitude and other location information associated with it.

To date the consumer side of Pinterest is is organized by category and very photo based for exploration and discovery. The local potential of Pinterest doesn’t even seem tapped at all yet, leaving huge opportunity for developers to build something cool that allows users to explore interesting things in a map, by city, neighborhood, zip code or in real-time via their mobile phone.

With this opportunity I’m adding it to my developer opportunity list. Seems like Pinterest API combined with CityGrid Places, Offers and Reviews APIs, you could make some interesting user experiences allowing web and mobile users to explore interesting things right around them.

You could easily monetize just by showing CityGrid places along with Pinterest content, and if you wanted to further monetize with CityGrid local advertising. I’m going to play with some PHP, Python and Ruby samples for Pinterest + CityGrid integrations, then maybe some mobile samples as well.

Let me know if you have any ideas as well.

Local Directory vs. Local Guide

When I started working with the CityGrid Places API I needed a project to help me learning about how to use the API, and wrap my head around whats possible when building local web applications. I built Hyp3rL0cal which is a local web directory, that I wrote in PHP, then created Python and Ruby versions as well.

While I think local directories are still a very valuable and relevant part of the CityGrid network, I do not think they reflect the future of local web applications. So I”m spending time trying to brainstorm what is next, and I want to explore the difference between a local directory and local guide.

In my opinion a local directory is a web application that provides search and browsing mechanisms for users to discover local businesses and places on the web. The concept of a directory is really built around the user navigating the places data, and finding what they are looking for. Which requires the user to be willing to work for the discovery, something that not every user we be able or willing to do.

This is where I think an important evolution of local comes in–from the local directory to local guide. Rather than requiring users to find their own places, we should be guiding them more and making our local web applications more intelligent in helping users discover what they are looking for.

These are just initial thoughts on this, but one example that comes to mind in the travel industry, is Hipmunk hotel search. Hipmunk provides a streamlined way of guiding you through finding a hotel in a city, between specific dates and allows you to effortlessly filter, drag and mouseover your way to finding your room.

Hipmunk is just one example that comes to mind, I’m sure there are a lot more out there. I will keep hunting for better examples of how to help evolve the definition of local from a directory experience to form of discovery that helps guide you through business and places, and share with you developers, so you can use in your local web and mobile apps.