AOL announced the launch of MapQuest Vibe, which it says generates “real-time rankings of neighborhoods, local hotspots and points-of interests using sophisticated algorithms.”
"MapQuest Vibe helps people cut through the ratings clutter by providing actual rankings based on key criteria within a richer neighborhood context," said MapQuest VP of product, Vijay Bangaru."Presenting neighborhood data in a structure that's enhanced by geographic context is critical to accelerating exploration of what's around you. We believe we have a unique platform to give people contextually relevant information that helps them make decisions."
The product will automatically populate the user’s current city or neighborhood (assuming that city/neighborhood is available, which mine isn’t, though it is still in beta), and let you search for other neighborhoods and give you the most popular and most frequented hotspots or clusters of businesses on streets, intersections, etc.
The product determines the best-ranked businesses in the dining, shopping, activities, beauty/spas, local services, health/med, and lodging/accommodations categories.
It operates based on “vibe score,” which is generated by interactions on MapQuest.com, cartographic analysis and “user signals”.
"When you think about it, neighborhoods are fuzzy by nature – constantly changing as businesses come in and out of service and people's interests shift," said Simon Hill, principal product manager, MapQuest. "MapQuest Vibe evolves in the same way, providing current information to help people feel like a local wherever they are and wherever they visit. Additionally, the voting mechanism helps create wider local community purpose that reflects the online, social and physical reality of urban communities."
"Our users have long been using MapQuest to discover what's in and around their area, but with more than 18 million domestic points of interest, we felt there was a need to dive deeper into what we could deliver to our users," said MapQuest SVP and General Manager Christian Dwyer. "MapQuest Vibe takes that enormous pool of information and helps people make better decisions on what appeals to them using the social heart and wisdom of the crowds."
AOL says MapQuest gets 39 million unique visitors per month.