Over the past several years there have been several “recommendation engines” or “discovery engines.” None have been particularly successful or memorable. But now there’s a new crop, including Bizzy, Google’s HotPot and now WHERE’s new app, which I wrote about this morning over at Internet2Go.
Local search at the most basic and utilitarian level — a business listing query or map lookup — is nearly solved and dominated by Google in the US. This is not to say that enhanced data and other types of functionality are similarly “solved” across the board.
Regardless, the thing that most local sites don’t do a good job of is “discovery.” What I mean is exposing me to things I don’t already know about or showing me stuff I might like to pursue.
Social media is now taking a crack at this (and thinks it can solve the problem). But, arguably, group buying is one of the more effective forms of “local discovery” operating online today — albeit very narrow. Also sites that offer top lists or “best of” lists do a nice job in my view, simple though that approach may be. In that vein, the Facebook “like” data is a rich source of potential local discovery material.
Local discovery was performed or delivered very well in many traditional media contexts: magazines, radio, newspapers. But on the internet and in mobile it doesn’t work so well.
WHERE is the latest to take a crack at this elusive space. Take a look and let me know what you think. It’s available for all the major smartphone platforms.