More Geo-Targeting Goodness

The ‘location aware’ internet is evolving very quickly.  There were a bunch of new anouncements last week.  Location awareness in mobile devices and desktop browsers supports both an enhanced user experience and the abilty to serve more relevant advertising.  This will be a transformational event for local advertisers.  Here’s a wrap up of some of the action:

Google Earth Adds Businesses

From Techcrunch:

By adding a “Businesses” layer to Google Earth, you’ll be able to see businesses by default when you start the application. Google Earth will list businesses like restaurants, bars, banks, gas stations, and grocery stores. As you zoom in further to the map, you’ll see more businesses. When you click on the icons, you’ll get additional information like the address. telephone number, reviews, and hours.

What it means: Another place for local businesses to be found by people on the move.

Yahoo! Testing Localization of Global Home Pages

From Search Engine Watch:

Yahoo! has been testing a new homepage for a long time now. The latest test involves localization features for global homepages. For example, if you live in the UK, you can get local transportation information via a widget on the left sidebar. The India homepage will feature a cricket app.

What it means: Browsers and web applications are increasingly becoming location aware — meaning both content and advertising can be made relevant to the location.  (There are also rumors of Microsoft testing location awareness in IE 8.)

Twitter Might Add Location Information to Each Tweet

Here’s what Robert Scoble wrote:

“He told me they are going to add features that look like friendfeed’s “likes” and “comments.” But he said they would be different, though. Also, during his talk at #140TC he told the audience they would make other changes to support search, including adding location based info to each Tweet.”

via The Praized Blog.

What it means: This could continue to strengthen Twitter’s role as a source of real-time information for local search.  It will also make it easier for local businesses to ‘watch’ for local activity of interest to them.

Yahoo! Placemaker Identifies Place References in Text

Yahoo! has been busy developing a great suite of tools for Geo-application developers.  It includes a high quality interactive map offering and FireEagle which is perhaps the most comprehensive approach currently available to securely share your location with others.  The latest addition is Placemaker which identifies place references in unstructured data like documents, web pages and tweets.

Not surprisingly, someone has already built a fun mash-up that marries Placemaker and Twitter: TweetLocations.  Just enter someone’s twitter id (you don’t have to be logged in) and it finds references they’ve made to places.  Try it with my friend @galinsky – a fellow Canadian who has been on an extended trip through Europe.

What it means: A way to derive location information from what people are saying.  This could also be used by local businesses to watch for local references – among other things.


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