Oddpath, searching locally

May 10th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Search engines are becoming more and more “localized”. Take for example Oddpath.com, which is a local search engine for North America's businesses, shops, companies, etc. No matter how I look at it, “localized” search engines are nothing more than a glorified online yellow pages that is packed with more features and options than the normal yellow pages website.

Oddpath is no different. You can perform random local searches through Oddpath or search by places, by using directories or through a “path finder” solution using zip codes allowing you to search what your locality has to offer.

I entered a search query of “bakery” and entered “Washington” as a base city in the “District of Columbia.” I got me 70 results, complete with addresses, telephone numbers, photo references and actual locations on Google maps. Oddpath claims to have more than 11 million listings of U.S. locations. The search results are not that bad. Quality of information is satisfactory and user interface is simple and fast. What I would like to see, however, in localized search engines is to let users ranked results according to predetermined ratings. For example, bakeries that have a higher rating of approval will be placed on the top search results.

 I find that adding such a feature will make localized search engines more useful. Getting a list of bakeries near you will not tell you which place to go when you want to buy the best pastries. User generated recommendations or ranking system will tell you which bakery to go to and which ones to avoid.