Local search is an interesting animal to say the least. There are seemingly a million different directories and resources to help bring search to the street level but it is so scattered that it frustrates more often than is helps. Citysearch has been around the scene virtually since the beginning of the commercial Internet. In fact, it’s hard to do a local search without seeing a Citysearch result come up.
In an article from Internet News the discussion is about some changes to Citysearch that have been asked for by its users for quite some time. These changes now incorporate social media and mobile opportunities to bring this Internet standard up to speed. CEO Jay Herrati says that these changes have been a long time coming.
In an interview with the New York Times, Herratti admitted the changes were overdue. “We got a little bit stale. Our consumers were telling us to get modern,” he told the Times. “We need to become the next-generation local guide.”
The biggest upgrade is the ability to for users to connect to their Facebook profiles using Facebook Connnect. This will enable users to write and share reviews with their Facebook friends. The weight of getting a review from a friend in “real time” will be even more powerful than one that is done from a source that is completely unknown to the searcher. Robert Scoble discusses how Facebook is really headed in the right direction despite the backlash of users regarding its redesign and he discusses the power of this “friend review” concept. Citysearch could take advantage of this connection more than most.
In addition to the Facebook connection the service is expanding from its current 150 local city guides to over 75,000 local communities and neighborhoods. This could get interesting. Most agree that local search is still relatively untapped because of the amount of work it requires to provide the details that local destinations have to offer. That amount of locations makes one wonder just how detailed the new locations will be.
With mobile search growing in popularity and people looking for more information in a “just in time” delivery mode maybe Citysearch will breathe new life into its offering that will put them on the edge of the next wave. Whatever the result these changes should at least take care of the request for the service to be more modern.