How often do you reach for the phone book when you want to find a local business or service? Not much anymore, if you’re like a lot of Net-savvy people. More and more, consumers are turning to the Web in search of local information. And everyone, it seems, wants to be there to greet them. AOL today joins Yahoo, Google, Ask Jeeves, Amazon/A9 and others with a specialty site aimed specifically at local searchers. Features include 13 million business listings, a CityGuide listings for entertainment, MapQuest for directions, and movie listings. (Stories here, here and here.)
Two local tech companies have a piece of the pie. As we reported before, Ingenio of San Francisco will provide locally targeted pay-per-call advertising for AOL. And as often seems the case lately, Topix.net of Palo Alto will provide the local news feeds. As the only provider of local aggregated news, Topix is benefitting mightily from this mad rush into the world of local search.
While AOL spiffs up its search sites, Google added to its local functionality today with Google movies. It’s more of a new search feature than a separate site, but it’s another way for Google to capture the eyeballs of local searchers.