Mobile Local Search, Keep It Simple, Sergey.


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As we have suggested before, Mobile Local Search will be the biggest Internet application in use and in cash spin-offs. However surprisingly it’s turning out to be much tougher to find a local pizza restaurant than it is to search the globe. There’s a lot of effort going into Local Search and it’s tough to stay on top of it and see the wood for the trees.

I watch with keen interest the writings of two observers of this scene, William Slawski and Mike Blumenthal. For example, Bill had an interesting post recently on a Google patent on an Approach to Improving Location Information Accuracy. Part of this covered the following:

Creating a Location Repository

The focus of this document involves creating a location repository, where it would try to match up location information favorable to computers, such as latitude/longitude or GPS coordinates, with information more likely to be used by human searchers. This system would allow for retrieving location identifiers for a variety of applications, so it can be used for many purposes with minimal effort.

It really is most impressive how Google has created this global computing facility that can attempt to catalogue all the information that exists. My mental picture is of SuperGoogleWoman wandering the universe seeing where she can apply her universal multi-purpose super-tools to solve problems. Nevertheless I’m surprised if the search for a local pizza restaurant needs such incredible computing power. This isn’t rocket science.

So how can we Keep It Simple, Sergey. Well we want something that is very easy to use for both seekers and their targets. It should be a minimal approach and it should give street addresses since our virtual search is just a precursor to a physical search as we often may wish to visit. One approach would be the LURI (Location Uniform Resource Identifier). This minimal HTML file gives the location coordinates for a corresponding website. This includes the physical address and can include a telephone number.

If any service provider we’re interested in has a LURI, then it’s very straightforward. If we as a searcher identify where we are by say a zip code or its equivalent, then the search engine just serves up those service providers whose LURIs indicate that they’re close. The complete LURI details then can be what are shown on the cell phone. Just dial up the number and you’re in business. What could be simpler?

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Mobile Local Search, Keep It Simple, Sergey. — 6 Comments

  1. Local search will never be “simple” as long as postal zip codes are used. First you can’t remember them all. Second, they are not geographically recognizable to the average folks. Third there are too many of them floating around for the engines to return in a relevant sort of way.

    No, the local web needs its own special codes whereby a location on the ground is readily identifiable, the same code being the same term used to search the local area on the web.

  2. You have a point. In fact the search engines are trying to encourage us to go with geo-cordinates (latitude and longitude). That’s probably the ideal way but it needs some way in which the process is made more user-friendly.

  3. The “New Address” codes in beta on allow local searches to be performed at the road junction, using a coded 4 to 8 character term that describes the location uniquely on the ground and on the web. Searches are done without entering city, zip code, clicking on a menu or map, or using gps. A few words of instruction will allow the user to apply the search in thousands of places using existing road signs and maps. ..under development.

  4. Ah, Burton, so you have a solution. Once you’ve finished developing it, all that’s left is to persuade us all to use it. Oops, wait a moment, I guess that will only work for the U.S. Please let me know when you roll it out to Canada. Joking apart, it’s a pretty nice website but I wonder whether it will get everyone to buy in to the idea.

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