WhitePages.com has launched a couple of new local search products this morning. Both are focused on neighborhoods and “hyper-local” information (hate the term). One is effectively a neighborhood-based social network called WhtePages Neighbors. The other, the subject of this post, is a new Android search app called “Localicious”
I won’t go into WhtePages Neighbors except to say it’s prepopulated with WhitePages “people search” data, which covers most of the US. So when you search or look around your neighborhood you’ll already see extensive contact information for the people who live near you.
On to Localicious: WhitePages says that it’s the first “neighborhood aware app.” Lots of folks, including Yelp, would probably dispute that. And Google Places allows users to refine local searches by distance.
Localicious is only available on Android right now but I assume an iPhone version is coming.
In order to get granular, WhitePages has licensed data from Urban Mapping and otherwise associated all the app’s content with local neighborhoods. What this means, as a practical matter, is that popular but unconventional local terms, such as “NOMA” or “Outer Sunset” in San Francisco or “Gramercy-Flatiron” in New York can be used to find places instead of zip codes, which you may not know or city names that may offer too broad a search area.
The app will identify nearby neighborhoods by default. But you can also choose other destinations where you’ll be later or next week. One of the critiques of “around me” app search is that it’s more challenging to find places that are not immediately nearby — right now. But planning for the near future (tonight, this weekend) is also part of local search.
Localicious also tries to minimize keying in queries and does a good job with popular-category search and pre-populated suggestions:
To further simplify neighborhood search, Localicious has analyzed millions of businesses searches across WhitePages web and mobile platforms to create 25 highly relevant categories to help users quickly narrow their search to find relevant local businesses based on their specific interests, including a “Popular” view which automatically suggests popular businesses nearby.
There’s also a map view and map-based search. In addition, WhitePages is tapping a number of APIs, including Foursquare. Localicious accordingly displays tips and reviews for a large percentages of listed places on the app.
Finally Localicious allows for “pre-checkins” (via Foursquare). Users can select a box on a business profile and the app will check users in automatically when they arrive at the designated business.