Consumers looking to map out a Saturday morning errand run or a Saturday night bar-hop — and find out about any special offers along the way — can now do so easily via MetroSeeq, a Portland, Oregon, start-up by Intel-vet Kevin Chen. The site was launched two weeks ago and has already had 40,000 visitors.
Chen says he was motivated to build the service after moving to four cities in three years and never really knowing what was out there, location-wise. (I know the feeling.) “I eat at Subway a lot,” he says.
MetroSeeq takes the API from Google Maps, sorts local listings by category (i.e., Japanese Restaurants, Indian Restaurants), and overlays promotions from a variety of promotions services, including Entertainment.com, Restaurant.com and Passport Unlimited. It is also beginning to integrate reviews from Yelp.
Among MetroSeeq’s features is the ability to conduct “progressive searches,” which means once users have mapped themselves to a certain destination (e.g., Horton Plaza), they can find something in the vicinity instead of starting at the beginning. Another feature is a spinwheel that randomly highlights cuisines of the day and other applications for users who are just browsing. It also highlights “Top Seeqs” based on what gets searched for the most.
Several additional features are planned. For instance, Chen expects to similarly highlight local news, events and services. He notes that Google’s maps can be customized by users for any purpose (i.e., personal jogging routes).
The service is currently being demoed as a destination site, but it is also being provided to publishers on a white label, affiliate marketing basis. While Chen has started with restaurants, he emphasizes that the service can be sorted by any category. In fact, he sees a great deal of potential in apartments.