Local.com: Addressing The Needs Of Local Search
To many who follow the search industry, local search is in a position to be one of the more requested and on demand features available. The ability to locate various points of interest tailored to a local setting (zip code, city, etc.) is quite attractive to visitors and search users.
Because of the growing popularity of local search, the iron is hot for a fully functional engine that concentrates specifically on finding locally relevant information to strike. Evidently, the governing body at Interchange, parent company of LocalDirect.com, feels the same way.
Interchange is preparing to launch Local.com, a local search engine brand that will begin by focusing its efforts on the United States and Europe. The goal for Local.com is simple: to offer users the best local search engine available, and if their ideas bear fruit, this goal seems quite attainable.
Local.com is scheduled for launch in third quarter of 2005, and when it does, it will come complete with SMS Local, a local search service available to mobile phone users; a comprehensive index, based in part on the LocalDirect.com search index; advertising services provided by Interchange’s ePilot program; and the pledge to concentrate solely on local search.
This means that unlike Google, Yahoo and their competitors, there will be no video search, no Group services, no email service etc, etc. Instead, the goal of Local.com is to offer the most satisfying local search service available. To accomplish this, Interchange will focus exclusively on improving and enhancing the local search experience. This is made even more evident when you notice the aforementioned features that will be available when Local.com officially launches.
Of course, the amount of features being offered doesn’t mean much if the basic search experience is unsatisfying. To secure themselves against this occurrence, Local.com is offering one of the most complete local indexes available. As indicated, a large portion of Local’s index will be acquired from LocalDirect.com, although this may not be quite as comprehensive as Interchange wants.
In order to bolster the LocalDirect index, Local is planning to unleash a web crawler based on Interchange’s Keyword DNA local-search technology. Local’s crawler will perform similarly to web crawlers belonging to other search entities.
Another area of concentration for Local.com is the delivery of relevant results to users. Because local search is predicated on location, when you search a business or personal interest in Dallas, Texas, you don’t want results originating from Houston showing up in the query results. To prevent this from occurring, Local.com has setup filters to ensure results are as relevant location-wise as possible. This means if you were searching for a mechanic in Louisville, businesses out of Lexington would not appear in the query results.
Heath Clarke, Interchange CEO, shared his vision for Local.com in the following statement, “Our goal is to make Local.com the number one destination site for consumers searching for local businesses, products and services. We intend to build Local.com into a brand that consumers trust to deliver highly relevant local-search results. User experience is of paramount importance to us as we seek to redefine what local search means.”