Points of Interest: January 27, 2005


Amazon Local Search Includes Pictures. A9, Amazon's online "Yellow Pages" (click on "Yellow Pages like you've never seen before" in upper left) introduced a local search option with a twist. In addition to finding the nearest coffee shop to a ZIP Code, it provides a set of pictures of the establishment. There are just general indications of how the company put together 10 cities in four months, but the company says the technology it developed which uses GPS and video will allow it to log more cities in the coming months. The service is supposed to provide more information than old-fashioned directories. Does it?

Since one of the cities covered is Boston, I had a look. The coffee shop closest to me (a block and a half) was listed but had no pictures. It seems the tour covered more major roads than minor ones. The Starbucks a few blocks away was listed and was linked to a series of 7 shots. The first time I visited, none of them showed the Starbucks, but rather the gas station next door to the small strip mall where the coffee purveyor resides. When I queried again, later in the day, I found different images, including the front of the store (above). The map from MapQuest, was right on. The shop closest to my parents in neighboring Cambridge (1369 for the locals) had a front door shot and included the bus stop nearby, as well as a car-less street. (It must have been early in the morning?)

Business owners can upload more photos, and visitors to the website can add comments or initiate a call to the business. Says one analyst, "The A9 photo feature appears to trump plans by Google to merge detailed satellite imagery with its local business directory."

If news like this is important to you, sign up for our weekly  GIS Monitor Newsletter.


Source: Material used herein is often supplied by external sources and used as is.