Sep 9, 2008

MapQuest Goes Local

Today we are launching MapQuest Local – the next step in our journey to add more relevant content to your maps and directions experience.

Local on the Internet is not new. For years, many websites have offered local guides or local content, but its often limited to just the largest cities and only a few categories. This requires you to hunt and peck all over the Internet to find the local information you need whether it’s a place you live or are visiting. But now, MapQuest is providing a way to get your information all in one place, across all the categories you care about, large city OR small.

What does that really mean? Imagine spreading out your Sunday newspaper sections out all at once and seeing the highlights of all the sections on one page. That’s what the new MapQuest Local brings to you! We’re giving you a view of the information available around the web for the area you’re interested in.

Here’s how it works:

You can easily get to MapQuest Local by clicking on the new orange Local icon at the top of the page or look for the orange links throughout the MapQuest site.

If you’ve visited the Local page before, we remember the last location you entered. If not, we pick a location for you by determining if you have a saved a default, home or work location, from our settings page. Didn’t know we had a settings page? You do now! So take a moment and set up your default settings. If you don’t have a default, we’ll use the most recent search on MapQuest. Or course, you can always choose a new city by clicking the “Change Location” link next to the current location. If you enter an address, just remember that MapQuest Local will just use the city.

MapQuest’s approach to ‘local’ is to provide you access to local information (including news, events, movies, gas prices and other local content) in a simple, easy to use interface that is draggable, customizable and collapsible. When you change your location, each widget will update to match your selection. You can also refresh a widget’s content by clicking the circular arrow button or expand or collapse a widget using the +/- button . Each widget contains links that will take you to the content provider. Pretty easy, right?

To rearrange the widgets into whatever order you’d like, just click on the top of the widget and drag it to wherever you’d like. If you don’t want to display a widget, you can turn it off by clicking the “Customize This Page” link at the top of the page. The customization panel will also let you choose to auto-update every 10 minutes.

We’re starting out with a great set of data including movie listings, restaurants, traffic, news, weather, gas prices, events, pictures, video and city’s best recommendations. So, how could you use this? Here’s an example. Once you’ve decided to go see a particular movie, you don’t want more information on that movie; you want to know where you can see it and what theaters are near you. But, what if you want to go to dinner before the movie, where’s the nearest restaurant and what if there’s traffic issues to get there, what’s an alternative route? And, you need to get gas but you want the lowest prices – do you want to get gas near home or near the movie theater. You get the idea, all this and more can be found in one easy page on MapQuest Local. We’re creating a localized experience for you around the place you’re going to be.

Again, this is just the beginning of the MapQuest Local experience. We look forward to providing you with new features and content coming out soon. More categories and data offerings will be coming soon. So, come back often and if you have interests in specific topics not available today in MapQuest Local, please send us your suggestions through the feedback link.

Come to us to experience what’s around your location!

- Your MapQuest Local Team