Place Profiles – The convergence of Listings & Reviews, HyperLocal, Local Search, Maps, and Mobile platforms
Very interesting to see how the emerging “Places” technology space is unfolding. With Google’s recent launch of Places Pages, I believe we’re witnessing the intersection of Listings and Reviews, HyperLocal, Local Search, Maps, and Mobile platforms into an integrated product offering.
Google’s powerful Location-based Search platform
First there was the announcement from Google on September 29th 2009 of Place Pages for Google Maps. Mashup’s analysis re: the implications for Yelp is here: Place Pages: Google Launches Rival to Yelp.
The very next day, Google launches an improved mobile search service. Again, here’s what Mashup had to say on the matter: Google Launches Mobile Local Search: More Bad News for Yelp.
The combination of Google’s Maps, Places, and mobile Local Search services are a powerful trio. Throw in Google’s efforts in Semantic Web technology – of which Google Snippets is an example – and you’ve got quite a platform.
So what are “Place Pages” exactly?
Well, imagine that places – historical sites, monuments, your city, your community, your business, your residence, the mall, etc – were on Facebook. To my way of seeing it Place Pages is like Facebook for Places. Here’s an example of a place page for the Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Note the map, reviews, products and pricing, pictures, etc. on this page. Here’s another place page for the city of Tokyo, Japan.
I tell you, there’s some serious semantic technology at work here. Welcome to the Web of Things (see also Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle’s Web meets World – aka Web Squared – presentation, which I blogged about here).
Here comes Microsoft
Not sitting still, Microsoft also has some powerful technology and products to bring to bear. First, in 2008 Microsoft acquires Semantic Search engine Powerset to integrate into their Bing Search platform.
Then, just days ago, Microsoft announced a significant upgrade to their Bing Maps platform.
Meanwhile Microsoft continues to invest in Local Search technology, and the Semantic technology experitise they acquired with PowerSet should position them well moving forward.
So where does this leave Yelp?
Well, we’ll have to see. Certainly Yelp’s new augmented reality iPhone app is mighty cool. And they’ve got a solid strategic position. But look out for the big boyz!
Location Technology – beyond Maps