Heard here that Yahoo had launched its local search. I had been quite impressed by Yahoo Cities earlier, and had started referring to it more and more for events in the city. My only grumble was that i couldn’t get a feed for it. In addition to events, they also have news, answers, maps, travel, blogs, videos and podcasts, a forum among other things.
There were a lot of the usual suspects missing from the list above, so when i read the news, i assumed that this would be complementary, and to a certain extent, it is. I was kinda disappointed because i had thought that Cities would be scaled up to include the missing parts too.
Yahoo Local has listings of restaurants, pubs, fitness centres, and a host of other services that are a part of the regular city life. Some of the data is provided by Indiacom and users can also add businesses. The site also asks for reviews, which means Burrp, Needgrub etc will face heavy competition, especially if Yahoo promotes this through city targeted (say) email bursts. Don’t know about Burrp, but Needgrub has carrots for reviewers.
On other fronts, it also means competition for Ask Laila, Guruji, Sulekha, mycitybuddy, buzzintown, just dial, Yulop, KyaKare, and Onyomo, who at one point of time was way ahead. Also, the other name that springs immediately to mind is a certain company called Google, who had gone local sometime back. I also saw another step from them recently. But i think Yahoo has upstaged them in this case. Meanwhile, I don’t use Yahoo Maps and cannot therefore comment authoritatively on the same, but given the crowd above and the kind of services some of them offer, Yahoo’s integration of Yahoo Maps may not be a quantum leap. Also, I was quite disappointed with the directions within the city that Yahoo gave (although vernacular is a good start). At least in Bangalore, this one is much better, the only snag is that nobody updates one ways!!! And that, in Bangalore, is about as dynamic as the average Indian politician’s loyalties.
But like i said earlier, I wonder why they have developed Cities and Local as two separate entities. Wouldn’t a one-stop-shop be much more useful to the average user in this case? For example, given that most events happen at public spaces like auditoriums, malls, hotels etc, and these find a listing in Local, what additional value can Cities bring to the table? News can also be easily integrated into Local, especially if it can be made sub local.
If a combo happens, what I’d be really be happy to see would be a customised search toolbar and say, a widget, that gives me local news updates as well as updates on events happening around town. With messenger, Yahoo Groups etc the possibilities, as the cliche goes, are endless.
In fact, a local website could be the perfect platform to get into social networking with a twist. The site would already have the skeleton ready – think about it – you are interested in buying a book, there are listings of bookshops, the community gives you reviews and the shop that gives you the best discount, they can even recommend similar books…. similarly with plays, music, food, and all the other things that you entertain yourself with. Instead of a global scene like Facebook, you can actually start realising the virtual life… no, i didnt mean poke!! Hold Scrabulous tournaments, go trekking, organise Flixster quizzes, find people who enjoy similar movies and actually watch it with them…. Real Social Networks, get the drift?
until next time, no more locally challenged?