[Geowanking] story on Google's geographic searching
ucfnmad at ucl.ac.uk
Thu Sep 25 02:46:00 PDT 2003
Hi, a short story on the limits of geographic search engines from The
Sex and the City, Google-style
Posted: 24/09/2003 at 10:31 GMT
Check out Google's search by location demo site. There are a few glitches
to iron out, Reg Reader Geo points out: a search of sex and New York
yields, at time of writing, only the names and addresses of convicted sex
offenders - in Ohio. Spot any more absurdities? Send 'em here. Now for an
article on location-based searching from our news partner, the estimable
Irish site, ElectricNews.Net.
Following closely behind Overture, search giant Google is demonstrating a
location-based Internet search service.
When the service is launched, Google users will be able to enter their
postcode along with search terms to produce tailored location-based
results and an area map pinpointing the location of, for example, local
pizzerias. Search-by-location services, or geo-searching, help users to
focus their searches on specific geographic locations.
This latest offering from Google Labs, the company's research and
development arm, works by analysing the entire contents of a Web page to
extract hints or "signals," about the geographic nature of the page. The
engine then determines the corresponding physical location and returns
results that match the geographic range specified. However, the beta
version is currently limited to US locations.
Meanwhile, Overture Service's competing service is earmarked for a fourth
quarter launch. A demo version of the company's location-sensitive search
product was launched earlier this month but has now been taken off-line.
When launched, it will match up businesses and consumers based on
geographic location, Overture claims.
It is expected that Overture will use its new technology to sell more of
its pay-for-performance keyword ads, which are Internet ads that are
returned alongside search engine results. This model allows business to
pay only for users that click on the highly targeted ads and if the
company's so-called "geo-targeting" technology is integrated into this
model, the lucrative ads will become even more targeted.
"Google's demo product seems to search from across the entire Web. In
contrast, the Overture one is very much targeted and sponsored-based. What
we are seeing is another sign that the search engines are trying to target
local markets which are thought of as the new, big advertising earners,"
said Danny Sullivan editor of SearchEngineWatch.com, an industry
Overture subsidiary AltaVista is in fact testing some geographically
localised ads now, a company spokesperson said. The search company
estimates that local search Web advertising will be a USD1 billion market
Still, neither Google or Overture are the first to attempt geo-searching.
Yahoo's Yellow Pages already offer a keyword search for business name or
business type and orders results by distance from any location. The
editorially vetted data has an address, a phone number, and possibly a Web
site. Both the Overture and Google products may only return results for
purely commercial organisations with Web sites.
What's more the now defunct Northern Light in tried its hand at
geo-searching in 2000 through a fairly rudimentary system that filtered
results so that only matches relating to a particular "real world" address
cyber geography research
centre for advanced spatial analysis, university college london
gower street, london, wc1e 6bt, united kingdom
email: m.dodge at NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk (remove the nospam bit)
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