Google Maps: #1 In Features, Market Share Rising

As Google Maps continues to roll out new features that competing map services don't have, web users are rewarding it with big gains in traffic. A recent analyst report says Google is the number one maps site in terms of features and usability, and new traffic data just shared this week with Search Engine Land shows Google Maps pulling much closer to category leader MapQuest. In a report issued this week, the boutique investment bank Cowen and Company says Google is the clear leader with the most user-friendly features among the four major mapping sites. "Google Maps has meaningf [...]

Ask Introduces New Maps & Directions For UK

The mapping upgrades and improvements are coming so fast now from Google, Microsoft, MapQuest, and Yahoo that it's difficult to keep track of all the changes. Luckily, the Ask Blog walks us through all the features of the new and improved Ask Maps UK, which includes multi-point routing, walking directions (which are claimed to be unique to Ask), aerial views, and incorporates landmarks, transit, and points of interest. However, this isn't a map-centric local search site, like Ask City in the US. A search for local information on the Ask UK Maps site (e.g., London Hotels) will send users to As [...]

Coupons Coming To AskCity

Ask has partnered with IAC sister company EPI, publisher of "The Entertainment Book," which offers coupons and discounts to local businesses. Entertainment, which has had several false starts with online distribution, is planning to pump 75 percent of its coupons into AskCity. They may also eventually make their way to's SmartAnswers and finally into mobile. Here's more information including some examples from the Ask Blog. Here's an example: According to the press release, there will eventually be 150,000 coupons (representing deals at 60,000 local businesses) that will be search [...]

Ask City Adds Embed Map Feature

First Google got embedded maps last month, and now Gary Price reports that Ask City has added an embed map feature that makes it easy to post a map or various local business directly on your web site as an image. For example, let's say I want to meet up with a bunch of my friends at a local pizza shop. I can embed a map of those local pizza shops on my blog, have my friends review them and then we can decide. Here is an example of that in action: (1) First I locate pizza stores in a local area. As you can see, I added a circle around the area using the drawing tools. (2) Click the e [...]

Citysearch Gets New Look And Video

Citysearch, one of the more venerable names in local search, has relaunched its site with an updated look and other "new and improved" features, including video. Video is currently available for New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and has prominent placement at the top of the home page. It's an ad unit for local businesses (mostly restaurants now) spending more than $800 per month. The videos are produced by TurnHere, which has developed a network of thousands of local filmmakers in the U.S. and abroad. The videos are typically very effective, run about a minute and don't "feel" like ads [...]

Ask City’s Shape Search Tool For Local Search Results

The Blog announced a neat new feature that enables you to literally shape your own local search results. You can go to Ask City, locate a location, draw a circle or square in a certain location and then search specifically within that location. Below is a screen cast I put up to explain it a bit better. [...]

Citysearch Buys InsiderPages

VentureBeat is reporting that Citysearch/IAC is the mystery buyer of InsiderPages. A purchase price was not disclosed. The formal announcement will apparently come later today or early tomorrow [now confirmed, see below]. I would guess the purchase price wasn’t more than 2x what the investors put in (TechCrunch guesses $13 million), given that the company was being shopped from a position of weakness. IAC as a buyer is both appropriate and fascinating for many reasons. I've posted more on this on my personal blog. Postscript: It's now confirmed, press release below: WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif [...]

Diller Touting Ask And Centrality Of Local

Barry Diller keeps talking about Ask as the "glue" of his empire and more specifically about the importance of local. Ask and the new AskCity are thus in the hot seat. ClickZ has a piece today about the forthcoming introduction of financial and real estate data into AskCity. The site quotes Diller from an investor call: "If you’ve road-tested Ask City, you’ve seen how special it is. The way the information is lined up inside the site is quite powerful. That’s the way it’s going to be all the way through, [...]

Ask City Launches Amid High Expectations

Barry Diller is putting a lot of pressure on Ask. He keeps talking about Ask's role in IAC's overall operation and local in particular. When he acquired Ask for almost $2 billion Diller immediately touted Ask's ability to knit together his disparate online empire into a more coherent whole. He also started talking about how IAC would own local, with several local brands. Now with the introduction of Ask City, which replaces Ask Local, the search engine has taken a bolder step to create a compelling local product. Danny Sullivan and I got a demo last week, which was impressive. At the level [...]

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