Google has announced that it will offer local search results for many items where it guesses you may want a local supplier. It clearly is responding to a real need, particularly when you are on the go. Although there will be many hurdles, the rewards of this approach are very obvious. Even though, Google May Not Always Find Local Restaurants In Canada at this time, the solution using IP location will work for most people.
Even local when you’re on the go, may not be close enough. For some time there has been strongly growing interest in hyperlocal information. It is interesting to see further confirmation of this in a New York Times item this morning (tip of the hat to Greg Sterling) entitled ‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers.
A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists. The sites, like EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placeblogger and Patch, collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with data from local governments and other sources. They might let a visitor know about an arrest a block away, the sale of a home down the street and reviews of nearby restaurants.
This type of application will undoubtedly see explosive growth. The location of the searcher could be determined by an IP Address Lookup. That presumably is how the Twitter Advanced Search can show you activity within say 15 miles of your location. If it works, that can certainly allow you to home in on that hyperlocal information. Unfortunately Google Local Search seems to be having problems with that, particularly in the UK.
Since it is to the advantage of any searcher or service provider to ensure their geographical location is clearly identified, they might be expected to keep some reliable identifier of their position. In 2007, we floated the idea of a very simple HTML file, luri.html, that any location would maintain giving its coordinates. LURI stands for Location Uniform Resource Identifier. Since it includes the postal code (or the Zip code in the USA), this allows quite precise determination of position.
That could also be used for mobile devices although if you expect to move over great distances, then GPS positioning is probably a wiser choice.
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