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AOL Searches Go Local

Google has it, Yahoo has it, Ask Jeeves has it, and now AOL has local search too.

AOL yesterday launched AOL Local Search, which aggregates local content from AOL CityGuide, Yellow Pages, MapQuest and Moviefone.

Beyond just address information, AOL's CityGuide feature adds editorial reviews for local hot spots. The Moviefone feature allows local searchers to find movie show times from the three closest locations.

AOL Local Search includes a "Hot Searches" button that shows the most frequently searched for entertainment venues and restaurants. AOL Local Search plans on implementing a local news integration feature with the engine at some point "soon".

Google launched its local search in March 2004. Yahoo and AskJeeves launched their local offerings in August.

"Local search is an important and growing category of search services given that 20 percent of all online look-ups are for something nearby -- local businesses and resources, movies, events, restaurants, products, retail stores and more," Jim Riesenbach, senior vice president of AOL search and directional media, said in a statement.

"Our new Local Search is in line with AOL's commitment to deliver enhanced products based on the highest-quality content to help users find information that's important to them."

In a report issued earlier in the week, JupiterResearch said 79 percent of 2004 paid search spending in the United States is currently dominated by only four categories: financial services, media and entertainment and travel.

"Broad-based search engines are extremely good at navigating vast amounts of information, but extremely poor at helping a consumer make a purchase decision," said JupiterResearch analyst Niki Scevak, in a statement. "This creates a large opportunity to enhance the consumer experience with vertical search."

Jupiter Research and internetnews.com are owned by Jupitermedia.



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