Yahoo! Tests New Local Search Product
GigaOm reports on a new local city guide-like product being tested by Yahoo!. It’s called Our City (sounds an awful lot like Ask’s new local search product, AskCity) and is being tested in Bangalore and New Delhi. From the looks of it, it appears to basically bring together lots of Yahoo! social media products and package them in a local search product. This includes bookmarks from Del.icio.us, events from Upcoming, photos from Flickr, news, blogs, and info from Wikipedia.
For this to fly, there will be a considerable amount of work required of users to geotag their content. This is already happening to some degree with Flickr photos so that map mashups can be created to overlay picture links that are of or about any given area. Hilary Schneider gave a few examples of this in her keynote at the NAA show in Vegas this week, such as a cross country road trip that is plotted out on a map via picture links that pepper the route taken from Chicago to Los Angeles. Bringing more information and multimedia to specific geographies is an interesting area of local media and is being done by PlaceBlogger (blogs) and TurnHere (video).
The jury is still out, however, on the sustainability and scalability of the “folksonomy” strategy being pushed strongly by Yahoo! (i.e., Del.icio.us, My Web) that relies on users to actively contribute and tag content so it can be properly indexed in these new and interesting ways. The Pew Internet & American Life Project released an interesting study last week that found 28 percent of Internet users have tagged or categorized content such as photos or blog posts. It also found that “on a typical day online,” 7 percent of Internet users participate in the tagging of content. So people are doing it but the question is, Is it enough to bring in critical mass of content needed to build an intriguing and comprehensive product?
More on the Pew study from Greg Sterling and Sebastien Provencher. And check out screenshots of Our City at GigaOm. Let us know what you think.
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