The Global Search continues for a great Local Search


Techcrunch reports that Insider Pages, a local search, has been aquired, probably for just a little more than it’s initial investments of something like 8.5 million.

For about 2 years now there’s been a huge amount of talk about how important local search will be to the search landscape, yet no local search really stands out as a great tool. Even Google’s local search leaves much to be desired and I think was recently listed as a Google project that has failed to live up to early expectations.

Perhaps part of the problem is that local information best rests in the hearts and minds and “word of mouth” of locals. It’s not clear to me that a critical mass of local “voices” is available yet to tell the local story, which is often more nuanced than, for example, the type of descriptive information that is easy to find.

For example it’s easy to map Chinese restaurants in Chicago, but hard to determine which one has the best Kung Pao chicken, let alone which of these restaurants are the best. For that, ideally, you’d be able to interact with locals who frequent Chinese restaurants in Chicago.

Yelp is having some success in Bay Area but I’m not convinced their “virtual+real social networking” model is scalable to the whole country.

So, the search for great local search continues.

2 thoughts on “The Global Search continues for a great Local Search

  1. To continue your ‘Chinese Restaurant’ example, a tourist unfamiliar with the area would want to know public transit and parking information as well as the quality of the Kung Pao chicken. And as yesterday’s brouhaha in the NYTimes indicated, restaurant reviews are hardly precise studies. If many guidebooks are disappointingly unable to assist someone in their quest for great Kung Pao chicken, it seems unsurprising that electronic guidebooks are atleast equally unimpressive. Local search engines will improve when merchants discover the economic benefits of such micro-marketing search engines.

  2. Local search engines will improve when merchants discover the economic benefits of such micro-marketing search engines

    Yes, a good point. There is an interesting tension now between the fact that in theory high quality niche search engines seem to be a great idea but in practice it is hard to get the traction to generate enough revenue to grow and thrive.

    Frankly, I thought Google local search was going to step in and pick up a lot of these local markets, but it seems they don’t have the inclination or understanding of the local market, or perhaps it may be too labor intensive for their biz models.

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