The Internet is just great for finding suppliers around the world, but Local Search is proving to be the biggest challenge of all. The biggies such as Google or Yahoo! do not do a very impressive job. So last week someone else has moved up to the plate to try to fill the gap. You may think of them as the ‘Let Your Fingers Do The Walking” people. That’s certainly what their logo shows. However there’s not too many people doing that physical stuff now. After all searching through thick directories can be hard work.
Even working through online directories is not always very effective. So yellowpages.ca has decided to improve the way you search their business directories. The search engine itself will use software from Approximatch that promises to absorb misspellings and offers built-in intelligence. It apparently uses fuzzy matching technology. Of course all they have in the database is the normal information from the directory plus whatever information the business owner may have put into the category information. To expand on that, they’re including some extra functionality with Local Search Taxonomy developed by Wand, a Denver, Colo.-based firm. The Wand taxonomy aims to reduce failed searches by adding thousands of product and service categories. This includes both English and French language versions.
It all sounds very thorough but the challenge remains. This revamped search includes just two search boxes ? ?What? and ?Where? ? which will accept merchant names, keywords, phone numbers and other criteria. Items entered in these fields will be correlated so that users receive as many possible relevant results as possible. However language is always tough, particularly in North America. One small test did not turn out too well. A search for the Canadian version of ‘colour printers’ in Montreal yielded only 4 results. A search for the American version, ‘color printers’ in Montreal, gave 10 results. Presumably they’ll have to turn up the fuzzy matching factor.
Still in this difficult field all efforts should be applauded. Let’s hope they get sufficient traffic and are encouraged to keep refining this. It’s very much needed