My sister is paying me a surprise visit this weekend and I decided to look on the Web for ideas for what we could do together this weekend. My initial thoughts were that we'd go to the movies and perhaps check out the Bodies: The Exhibition. I wouldn't to see if I could get a better suggestion on the Web.
My first instinct was to try Seattle - City Search but had to give up when I realized the only events listed for today were either announcements of what DJs would be at local clubs tonight or announcements sales at local stores. Another thing that bugged me is how few ratings there were for events or locations on City Search. This reminds me of a blog post on Search Engine Land entitled Local And The Paradox of Participation which came to a set of incorrect conclusions about a poll that claimed that people are equally likely to post a positive or negative review of an event or location. The incorrect conclusion was that it is a myth that few people are likely to post reviews. Given that locations and events that are attended by thousands of people tend to only have dozens of reviews on almost every review site I've ever seen seems to make this a fact not a myth. The poll only seems to imply that people are willing to share their opinion if prompted which is totally different from someone attending a nightclub or concert then feeling compelled to visit one of umpteen review sites to share their opinion. What is surprising to me is that there doesn't seem to even be a small community of die hard reviewers on City Search which is unlike most review sites I've seen. Just compare Amazon or IMDB which both seem to have a number of reviewers who are on top of certain categories of products.
Anyway, what does this have to do with Google? Well, I went to Rich Skrenta's much vaunted starting point of the Intenet and tried some queries such as "local events", "seattle events" and "events in seattle" with pathetic results. The only useful links in the search results page led me to a couple of event search engines (e.g. NWsource, Upcoming) that were pathetically underpopulated with event information. None of them even had a listing for Bodies: The Exhibition. Lame.
I tried Google Local
which turned out to be redirect to their mapping site. Shouldn't a local search engine be able to find events in my local area? Double lame.
Before you bother pointing it out, I realize that other search engines don't do a much better job either. This seems to point to an opportunity to add a lot of value in what must be a very lucrative search market. I'm surprised that Yahoo! hasn't figured out how to do more with their purchase of Upcoming.org. Then again Yahoo! hasn't figured what to do with any of the Web 2.0 startups they've purchased so maybe that is expecting too much. Maybe Google will purchase Eventful.com and fix this fairly big hole in their search offerings. Somehow I doubt it. .