Although we relaunched nLocate.com few months ago, we feel like we haven’t communicated enough about what’s really new. Is it just the UI that has changed or has something deep down changed as well?
Let’s have a look at existing local-search products like different variants of yellow-pages websites, Google Maps, Google Local, Facebook Nearby and the like. We use these services to find the location, telephone numbers and other contact information about the businesses we are interested in. But why do we want to know this information? Let’s try to understand this with an example:
Say you have a back-pain. You want to go for a check-up. You use local search to find contact information of a hospital nearby, one that’s convenient to you. Then you contact them to ask your questions that matter, like which Orthopedics doctors are available in the hospital, what their OPD timings are and so on. If satisfied, you’d ask them over the phone to book an appointment.
The real problem was to find a good Orthopedics doctor from hospital near you with OPD timings that fit you. But how much did local search help you on that? It only got you the contact information of the hospital. Then you were left to yourself to ask those questions by actually calling/contacting them.
Technology today has reached a level where one company can build a product that knows the relationship statuses of over a billion people. But in contrast, local search is still limited to merely adding a search-bar and navigational layer on top of the Yellow Pages data.
It’s not that navigation is a small problem in itself; it’s not. It’s a big one, and a very important one at that. The real question here is “Is that enough?”. Does it not seem that local search hasn't yet evolved considerably compared to other technological advancements? Can’t we do more on top of the navigation infrastructure to be more helpful to the users?
It feels there’s so much yet to be done.
But what exactly?
Let’s rethink the local-search needs and the value-chain to try to understand this better. Hospitals exist to provide check-ups and help cure people of diseases. Restaurants exist to serve you food. Stores exist to sell you various commodities. If a hospital does not provide check-ups, that hospital is of no use. Similarly a restaurant not serving food or a store without any item to sell is of no use as well.
Businesses exist to deliver something, which can be a product or a service. People want/need those products and services, that’s why they search for businesses that cater to those wants/needs.
It’s not only finding those businesses that’s important. Users are interested in the products and services they need; and the businesses are just the vending parties. Can we not build a local search service where people directly search by product or service?
Why can’t we simply search for “Orthopedics” when we have a back-pain and get a list of hospitals nearby with doctors specializing in Orthopedics who work there, and their OPD hours? Why can’t we search “fire-wood pizza” when we are hungry and get a list of restaurants nearby that serve firewood pizza, along with their prices? Why can’t we search by a movie name we want to watch and get a list of cinema-halls showing those movies, show-times and ticket prices?
Why can’t a search result have all the necessary information needed, so that user can make decision without navigating around several web pages ?
nLocate.com is the answer to these questions.
Our mission is to give as complete an answer as possible for any search query for local products and services. Our search results are not a bunch of links, but are a complete answer to your question with all the needed information so that you can make decisions by looking at the search results.
Well, we have at least started our journey with this mission in our mind.
Happy nLocating !