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Goby.com's Local Search Concept: Good Idea, Not Ready for Primetime

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Goby.com launched this week, promising to help people find things to do with their spare time or help them find interesting things to do on vacation. The idea is to type in the type of thing you want to do, where you want to do it and when you want to do it directly on the homepage (which is available on Firefox and IE):

gobyhomepage092409.png

The problem is the results leave a lot to be desired. Simply type in "dog park" and then try a bunch of different cities. The results for Wasington, DC returned listings for dog parks in Washington State and the listing for New York City was for an upstate dog park. There were no results found for a bunch of cities including San Francisco, CA or Chicago, IL.

gobydogparksf092409.png

"Museum" does relatively better, save for Washington, DC whose famous Smithsonian museums are forgotten due to listings, again, for Washington state museums. The rankings for museums in other cities are a bit off. For example, the listings for the American Museum of Natural History and MOMA are too far down on the list of museums for New York City for my taste.

Generally, when you are able to get results, bigger cities fare better than smaller ones. Even still, the results are not as good as you'll get from the top 4 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask).

Goby boasts being built on search technology developed by MIT. It's a good idea in theory and I hope it gets fleshed out, but the tech needs to be improved for it to be useful for searchers.


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