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Friday, July 21, 2006

Greg Sterling (Search Engine Watch) reviews Windows Live Local’s mapping features at it nears its first birthday. Nothing new for those who have been paying attention, but he does make this interesting observation:

Currently of the top four mapping sites, Microsoft is in fourth position in terms of traffic, according to comScore. It goes, Mapquest, Yahoo, Google and WLL in that order. Mapquest is the least dynamic of the four but still dominant. Part of that is the brand and consumer habit and part of it is the use case. Most consumers have not discovered the full utility of mapping sites as a starting point for local search. The dominant use case today remains driving directions after I’ve decided where I want to go.

He doesn’t point to specific numbers, but I expect he is correct. Despite all the whizbang of Birds Eye views and 3D and specializing local search, most of us are still simply using routing engines. We are not doing local search. We don’t yet think that way. That certainly supports why MapQuest, the “Kleenex” of routing, is still in the lead. There’s still a lot of educating to get the public to take advantage of “what more the map can do.”

And, I’ll go further, that’s the case for basic mashups, too. Putting dots on the maps is still what’s of value to most consumers and some percentage of businesses. Educating them not only that GIS can do modelling, but that it has value, is still a top priority as geospatial thinking comes to a broader audience.

Eric Kass covering Media Post’s Search Insider Summit quotes Google’s Karen Crow, director of sales and operations “summarized the general feeling:”

Local is huge, but it hasn’t really been tapped into.

Interestingly, Google, Microsoft and are keeping local search separate from Local. Yahoo, is going the other way and itegrating it into the main search.

Above all, Yahoo believes that users find multiple entrances for search counterintuitive and inconvenient, [Ron] Belanger [senior director of channel strategy and development for Yahoo search marketing] said—which may explain the low activity rates on specialized local search portals.


by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 10:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

There’s been a bit of buzz on the U.S. Homeland Security department preparing to send emergency info to wireless devices. An article at Information Week gets into the possible technology providers. It profiles SquareLoop, which according to its COO is unique because of its locating technology that does not involve tracking and its ability to send messages with unique tones. What interest me was the location technology.

[SquareLoop COO] Walsh insists SquareLoop is mindful of personal privacy because the company doesn’t track a person’s location. Instead, it relies on an application downloaded on the phone and the phone’s wireless receiver to filter messages, which contain a target location and time frame. The phone then determines if the message applies.

So, essentially, the technology is built on a fences - if you are inside the area, you get the message, if not you don’t . But if you cross into the area after the alert, you’ll get it at that point.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 09:45 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

According to the AP (and I would not publish this without its backing!) officials in Davenport, Iowa are proposing a 25 ft tall sculpture of a pushpin at the intersection of two bike paths. The mayor likes the idea; a local resident calls it “hideous.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 09:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“While there are some things Oracle does better, there are a few that we do better. GIS, for instance – we have a better GIS package.”

Josh Berkus, who works as the Sun lead with PostgreSQL, said that about the open source database in a post at ZDNet’s blog. The post by Dana Blankenhorn argues that Oracle is suffering from “margin compression” - basically getting squeezed by the likes of PostGres and SQLServer and DB2. It’s interesting that GIS (which one could argue neither PostGres, nor Oracle “does”) is brought up a point of comparison, espeically since, as far as I know, PostGres needs open source PostGIS to become a spatial enabled database.

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/21 at 06:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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