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Google Adds Location Targeted Searching 326

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the where-am-i dept.
miradu writes "Many Slashdot users may remember that the winner of last year's Google programming contest's entry was a location specific search. Now, Google has made a version of Daniel's idea available to use on Google Labs. Google Search By Location lets you search for things near some zipcode, or city/state. It then gives you a map with each search result pinned on it. V"
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Google Adds Location Targeted Searching

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  • Useful service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by esconsult1 (203878) * on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:45PM (#7034877) Homepage Journal
    Is google going to eventually require some kind of stripped down registration for this service? They've slowly (over the past year or so), started to roll out a pervasive registration for their various services (Adsense, Adwords), and optional registration would make sense here too.

    On the other side of things, Google stands to make a killing here. Google can sell a new class of ads to people like plumbers, who don't need a webpage. In fact, they could possibly host a minimal web page for those kind of advertisers who just want to show some simple text and services.

    Hey, perhaps Google wants to give me some kind of idea fee???

  • by Phoenix-kun (458418) * on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:50PM (#7034928) Homepage
    At first, I thought this was going to function by mapping the web server IP address to a geological location. This is much better. It is a logical extension from the feature where Google gives you street addresses when you search on business, etc. This could be really useful for finding local clubs and organizations that share a common interest.
  • by Cryofan (194126) <cryofan.yahoo@com> on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:52PM (#7034949) Homepage Journal
    Would it be more effective for a small business that depends on local business (such as a house roofing or a plumbing company) to have a business name and a website that includes the name of the city? For example, "www.dallasplumbing.com" or www.dallas-plumbing.com? Which would be better at getting higher up in the google query? It would seem that with this IP location factor in the query that maybe such a URL scheme would be effective? Your opinions, please.....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:52PM (#7034954)
    Well, I got to play with it for a while before it was slashdotted (hint: get a subscription).

    It's kind of cool, but pretty lame. Most searches matched something on the edge of the page with and address from the other edge. They just weren't related. About 1/5 pages weren't even online anymore. For some reason, the location search doesn't include a cache link, but you can get the cache via the normal google interface.

  • Re:Useful service (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thedillybar (677116) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:53PM (#7034957)
    This is a wonderful idea. Sites like Yahoo [yahoo.com] already have Yellow Pages [yahoo.com] that do similar things. Hopefully Google [google.com] can make it even better. I definitely believe MapQuest [mapquest.com] is a big improvement over Yahoo Maps [yahoo.com]. Nice to see that Google has started out small (just search engine), made their services FAR better than any competitor, and are now, finally, expanding.
  • Yahoo Yellow Pages (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:53PM (#7034967) Homepage Journal
    How is this different from Yahoo Yellow Pages ( http://yp.yahoo.com [yahoo.com])? I've been using that service for half a decade. It searches by zipcode / address as well.

    Dan East
  • by Ophidian P. Jones (466787) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:55PM (#7034982)
    This is an interesting way of looking for recruits. An individual interview is one thing -- I've seen some real losers get past that process. Google seems to be looking for a way to entice and reward developers who can use their l33t coding sk1llz in a team environment. It's one thing to be able to write good code -- the ability to work with other great coders is valuable indeed.

    Here's what Google values, from their Job Opportunities [google.com] [google.com] page:
    What we look for when hiring great people:
    * People with broad knowledge and expertise in many different areas of computer science and mathematics, including distributed systems, operating systems, data mining, information retrieval, machine learning, performance optimization, algorithms, user interface design, statistical inference and information theory, and related areas.
    * People with world-class programming skills.
    * People with excellent communication and organizational skills.
    * People who are passionate about their work and are great colleagues.
    * People who enjoy working in a high-energy, unstructured environment on very small project teams to build amazing products used by millions of people every day.
    * People with diverse interests and skills.
    What intrigues me personally is that this contest took place in an online collaborative environment. Does this mean that Google is considering opening up to remote working -- as in, I can live in Dallas and "work" in the Googleplex? As much as I'd love to work at a place like Google, there's no way I'm moving to California.

  • by ahfoo (223186) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @12:56PM (#7034997) Journal
    That would be a trip.
    I tried the search and it failed on my quite a few times, but the potential is huge. The first thing that came to my mind was real estate.
    I've gone out looking for land with realtors that can't even find the lots they're supposed to be showing, and look how much they take in transaction fees for their "service." It' not like they do the Escrow themselves. I suppose it's a bit different for houses, but for land sales they act like they're doing you a favor.
    Not only that, but I've gone in with aerial photos and maps from the County that all come off of county maintained computer databases and the realtors inevitably insist their little hand drawn map that doesn't even accurately map the parcels is the more accurate solution.
    This could be the beginning of something huge for Google.
  • Mobile applications (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @01:09PM (#7035129)
    There are a couple of wireless companies that do location based searches based on handset GPS coordinates. I worked on a location search application a long time ago using smart phones. It's not new. We even had a webpage that allowed you to track where the user was.
  • by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @01:09PM (#7035130) Homepage
    Slashdot seems to be very pro-Google, and I admit to using their search the majority of the time as well, but everyone should at least take a glance at google watch [google-watch.org]. Of most interest is the privacy section. If any other site were to track the stuff Google does, /. would be up in arms protesting.

    "Google currently does not allow outsiders to gain access to raw data because of privacy concerns. Searches are logged by time of day, originating I.P. address (information that can be used to link searches to a specific computer), and the sites on which the user clicked. People tell things to search engines that they would never talk about publicly -- Viagra, pregnancy scares, fraud, face lifts. What is interesting in the aggregate can seem an invasion of privacy if narrowed to an individual."

    Please note, this isn't a troll, and I'm not wearing a tin-foil hat (maybe I should?). Imagine the following scenario: a bomb goes off in the US. By tracing searches for "anarchist cookbook" to zipcodes within the area of the bomb blast, the FBI could have access to information that makes TIA look like a better alternative.

    Maybe this isn't such a good feature after all...
  • Already done... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cnelzie (451984) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @01:15PM (#7035178) Homepage
    Check out www.smartpages.com

    It is an online yellow pages. Each listed company has a small 'web-page' that provides a link to the actual external web-page, if available, as well as a mapquest map, address and main contact phone number.

    I use that site ALL the time looking up potential service vendors for the company I work for.
  • by mogrinz (548098) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @01:22PM (#7035218)
    I mean, beyond the 10K he made in the contest. Did Google give him a job? Or did they basically get this great idea (and a lot of others) for the low-low price of $10,000?
  • by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @01:29PM (#7035262)
    Searches are logged by [...] the sites on which the user clicked

    How is this done? The result links don't point to redirections...

  • Yeah, let's try that (Score:2, Interesting)

    by michiel.h (570138) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @02:02PM (#7035591) Journal
    What next, Google-RIAA search; 'enter a kazaa username and google will give you the IP address, personal information, credit card number, and home address of the user!'
    Alright, let's try that.
    First, a quick search of most active username on kazaa.
    Ah, there we have it. Now, let's find some info on this bastard.

    -- --
    Google 'Search by location' search term: kazaaliteuser@kazaa.com
    Google 'Search by location' region: USA

    Google found 2.304.942 search results:

    Alabama

    A. Allan
    1425 21st Street South, Suite 208
    Anniston, AL 12205

    A. Andrews
    517 Beacon Parkway West
    Anniston, AL 25209

    A. Baccus
    106 W Third St
    Birmingham, AL 35674

    ......
    ....
    ..


  • by manmanic (662850) on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @02:14PM (#7035698)
    This is great... combined with something like GoogleAlert [googlealert.com] you could watch for anything new springing up in your neighborhood!
  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 23, 2003 @02:38PM (#7035910) Journal
    90% of the complaints on Google-Watch are from "search engine optimizers."

    That is, people are upset that they can't manipulate listings on Google for money. (Hint: Buy a fucking ad.) Forgive me if that makes me want to ignore Google-Watch.

    Google's privacy policy is well defined. If you've got a problem with it, holler. Your scenario would pretty clearly violate their policy. If you've got some other way that they should do their business without losing features, holler.

    Till then, quit hinting.

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