Some news on local search today … Local Matters issued a press release about their private label service at DEMOfall. I have to admit, despite having spoken with Perry Evans and having heard him speak on a number of panels, I’m still not quite clear what differentiates Local Matters from other YP offerings. Their community features seem to be pretty par for the Web 2.0 course. That being said, for most telco’s, a decent online local search would be a major leap forward.
In general, I expect the portals to beat the carriers pretty easily at anything involving the Internet and search.
Case in point are some new features from Yahoo! Local. Not sure exactly when the latest stuff launched, but they’ve made some major enhancements in AJAX-type interface for pop-ups and integration of user content. It also seems they are reaching a critical mass of consumer reviewers, which is making their YP content incredibly more valuable. Good summary of features at ClickZ Network.
I’m curious about how they put together the neighborhood boundaries. That’s not an easy thing to do, and there are no good commercial sources for the boundary data that I know of. Of course the definition of a neighborhood boundary is subjective (varies according to whom you ask) and changes over time (today’s ‘Brewerytown’ is tomorrow’s ‘Art Museum’, largely through the influence of optimistic realtors). Some blurriness in Yahoo!’s implementation … I would define ‘Old City’ Philadelphia to end at Chestnut, but Yahoo seems to stretch it into ‘Society Hill’ and ‘Washington Square’.
Also notable is the integration of Yahoo! Real Estate for rentals. It shows yet another way to monetize mapping.