Archives for Josh Babetski

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  1. MapQuest Local now supports the hCard, hCalendar, and draft Geolocation Microformats.

    A Micro-what?

    Here’s a down-to-earth explanation:

    With a little help from your web browser, Microformats on MapQuest Local will allow you to save contact information to your address book. For example: the name, address, phone number and web address of a restaurant or movie theater. You can also save event information to your calendar application. So for example: the date and showtimes for a movie, along with the address information. This makes the information more portable and therefore more useful to you.

    How do I See and Use Microformat Information?

    Many sites have implemented Microformats, but most current web browsers don’t have built-in support yet. Future browser releases will; MapQuest Local is ready today. In the meantime, you can take advantage of Microformats through browser plug-ins and bookmarklets.

    Here’s a quick example on adding a location to an Address Book application using the Operator add-on for Mozilla Firefox on Mac OS X. Your set-up may vary, but the steps will be very similar.

    • In #1, I’ve selected the “Contacts” list in the Operator toolbar. Notice that the locations in the list match locations on the MapQuest Local page
    • In #2, I’ve selected a location
    • In #3, I’ve selected the option to export
    • In #4, I now have a new entry in my Address Book application with all of the fields correctly filled in
    • In #5, by syncing my address book with my mobile device, I now have the information easily at hand for later reference

    Adding Event information to your calendar is pretty much the same process.

    This is just another in the many ways we’re working on making all of MapQuest more useful.

    PS: There are some additional recommendations on the Microformats site for Microformat-enabling your broswer.

  2. 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

  3. Do you own a website with local content?

    Would you like to reach over 47M+ Unique Users every month?

    As a follow up to our initial release of MapQuest Local, we wanted to also provide some insight into our future Local plans. We know there are numerous web sites out there with rich and relevant local content that would be of interest to our users. So, we’ll be opening up MapQuest to enable you to expose your content and drive traffic directly back to your site.

    If you want access to the 12th largest web site audience in the US – an audience who comes to with an interest in one or more explicit locations – bring us your feeds! Bring us your location relevant content. Bring us useful information both general and niche. If you’re a venture capitalist, bring us the companies you’re backing. If you’re a start-up or big Internet powerhouse – let’s talk. If you’re a one-person operation with a pizza shop review blog: that’s great content! We want to hear from you.

    We’re already working with our next set of partners for relevant content to MapQuest Local for the next batch of widgets, want to join too?

    If you’re interested in being a part of the wave of content on MapQuest Local, visit this sign-up form. Locations are much more than a red star on a map. With your help, we’re looking forward to bringing a more Local experience to all MapQuest visitors.

    - Your MapQuest Local Team