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Jan 24 2006
Google: Improved Local Imagery
Seeking to match some of the very impressive high-resolution �birdseye� photography now available through Windows Live Local, Google has improved the resolution on some of its aerial coverage. Here�s the latest from the Official Google Blog:

We�re always trying to improve the imagery in Google Earth and Google Local, but our latest update is bigger than usual. Not only have we added extensive 6-inch imagery for many parts of the U.K., but we�ve updated the Google Local database to match the coverage we have in Google Earth, and (drum roll, please) ... we�ve added two more zoom levels in Google Local�s Satellite mode! Now for many areas around the world you can see a lot more detail than you could before.

As examples, Google is offering new and improved views of Buckingham Palace, the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House.

I tried to find the identical landmarks in Windows Live Local to offer a comparison on this post and found it very difficult�it�s not a good tool for landmark search. One has to have the address first; but what�s the �address� of Buckingham Palace? (It�s Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, of course�not much of an �address.")

I spoke to MapQuest the other day and, to my surprise, they said they were exploring options to offer something �at least as good� as what Microsoft was doing with aerial photography.

All these tools will get better, including landmark search (which isn�t that great in Google either).

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  08:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 24 2006
Yahoo! Content to Be No. 2 in Search?
This is a very interesting piece from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quoting Yahoo!�s CFO Susan Decker on the implied unliklihood that Yahoo! will gain any significant search share from Google in the immediate future.

Recall, however, that overall Yahoo! is number 1 in terms of uniques (a position it has traded with AOL back and forth).

What is amazing is that Google grew search market share (by all accounts) in 2005, a year of incredible competition. This year promises to be at least as competitive and Yahoo! may turn some attention from search per se to other assets (e.g., video, mobile, content creation, podcasting and so on).

The Yahoo! Go strategy playing out will also be an important one to watch. (There have also been rumors that Yahoo! will seek to buy TiVO.)

I would also make the unsolicited recommendation that Yahoo! devote more time and attention to MyYahoo (though the company recently �AJAX-ified� the content modules). This is an application that is very strong (for the mainstream user) and should be leveraged sooner rather than later.

On the advertising side, Yahoo! will likely try to continue to leverage its relationships with national advertisers�display ads were an area of growth for the company�and the success it has had in its initial trials with behavoral targeting. Yahoo! is also slowly developing its contextual product.

Local is also an area of great strength and innovation for Yahoo! And, as mentioned, social media and community will continue to develop at Yahoo!

We sometimes forget that there�s a great deal more going on on the Internet than search, even though search has become the driver or starting point for so much commercial and non-commercial activity.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  06:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 24 2006
Social Search Review
BusinessWeek Reporter Ben Elgin provides a nice overview of Yahoo!�s �differentiation strategy� (vs. Google) using community and �social search.� (I believe JudysBook has tried to TM the term �social search.")

We wrote about Yahoo!�s broader social strategy and how it related to local back in August last year and blogged a bit more about it in November.

I also wrote previously here about how Yahoo! is integrating community across its site in Answers, Shopping, Trip Planner, etc.

We�ll also be doing an update of our 2004 White Paper �Social Networking: Building a Better Local Online Marketplace� this year.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:39 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 24 2006
Jeeves' New Image Search
This doesn�t have anything to do with local per se, but is supposed to being helping make IAC a local powerhouse (together with Citysearch). I�m reminded by this that I need to catch up with them on a range of fronts. But the new image search is a nice presentation.

According to the recent Keynote Systems research on search user satisfaction, image search is playing a more significant role in the overall search picture (so to speak):

Image search appears to have caught on quite quickly with consumers, with 63% of Yahoo! users and 56% of Google users turning to the image search areas of those sites when searching for an image. There is less awareness and usage of the local search tabs, with just 28% of Google users and 39% of Yahoo! users in the study turning to the local search function when conducting a local search although there is great appreciation for Google�s integrated local search results. There is significantly less consumer demand for the special product search functionality on all leading sites.

As competitive as Ask�s functionality and search results are, the engine has struggled to differentiate itself and gain share. However, according to comScore, between November 2004 and 2005, Ask gained 1% market share:

November �04:

  • Google: 34.6%

  • Yahoo!: 32%

  • MSN: 16%

  • AOL: 9.1%

  • Ask: 5.5%

November �05:

  • Google: 39.8%

  • Yahoo!: 29.5%

  • MSN: 14.2%

  • AOL: 8.7%

  • Ask: 6.5% (+1%)

At 5+ billion monthly searches that�s not insignificant. Still, if Ask is going to further break out it will have to do some fairly radical things to draw users away from the top three.


Here�s more from Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [2]

Jan 23 2006
The Earnings Guessing Game
SiliconBeat and John Battelle raise the question (citing Yahoo! employee Amr Awadallah�s reasoned speculation) of whether Google will hit or fall short of estimates. I think the company will hit its targets (but it still may loose if it doesn�t exceed them).

Eight days to go; we�ll see.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  13:33 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
First the Web, Then IPTV, Next Radio
An interesting piece in today�s New York Times about HD radio. Better described as �digital radio�, the technology allows broadcasters to fit three additional channels in the space now occupied by just one.

A digital signal also allows for much better behavioral targeting for advertisers. Combine this with Google�s recent move into radio advertising, and you have a new growth medium for targeted local advertising.

The move towards digital radio will largely be fueled by the new on-demand marketplace. There will be more content choices and more of a pull of content, rather than a broadcast push. The pull is also where targeting can be more acutely executed.

WIRED magazine wrote a great forward looking piece last March which speculated some of the possibilities of digital radio.

From the article:
As listeners select the programs they want to hear, they're instructing the radio about their interests. "Whenever you pull the dial like a piece of taffy and let more signals come through, you are of course going to get a lot more niches," Griffin says. As a broadcaster, "you make money [running a collection of niche stations] because targeted ad buys are so much more valuable than nontargeted. Traditional media isn't a great way to reach fly fishermen or people who are in quilting bees, but niches are."

In this TiVo-esque environment, Clear Channel-style mass broadcasting becomes less and less effective.

The technology is in an early adoption stage, and the pricing for necessary hardware reflects that. But the price will come down and it should follow a typical new technology life cycle. When it reaches wide scale adoption, we can expect to see many of the targeting abilities of the web, and of IPTV, manifest in radio.

There is a lot more to it, and we will continue to analyze this interesting area as it develops.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:20 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
ReachLocal Deal with FTD
Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal reports on a large-scale deal between ReachLocal and FTD local florists:

ReachLocal and FTD Florists are working together on a customized local search campaign in which 20,000 FTD merchants will be advertising on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, IYP�s like SuperPages, and According to the agreement, FTD will implement all of its local search advertising through ReachLocal.

Efficient Frontier manages these sorts of large campaigns for Reach. Last week I had a very interesting conversation with EF regarding paid search generally and local in particular, and related trends in automated management of search campaigns for local businesses.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:51 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Real Estate Roundup
Gary Price has a link-intensive piece today at Search Engine Watch discussing the proliferating tools in real estate search. It�s quite thorough and worth a read definitely. Real estate is one of the most interesting verticals since it�s map-intensive, involves offline transactions and local businesses and is being driven by accelerated consumer adoption of online applications.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:50 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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