The World Wide Web Gets Local

About 550 million searches are conducted daily on the​ Internet, according to​ Internet watchdog Jupiter Research. While most searchers now know how to​ order books, reserve plane tickets or​ download the​ latest tunes from cyberspace, many consumers are less confident about the​ best way to​ find information about businesses and​ services close to​ home--such as​ pinpointing specialty shops in​ their neighborhood or​ finding a​ phone number for​ a​ local pet store that's known for​ pampering pooches.

According to​ Yahoo! data, one in​ four Internet searches is​ local-specific. Only a​ handful of​ search engines are equipped to​ handle what is​ known as​ "local search." Local search differs from general search in​ that it​ lets people find business listings by searching within a​ specific city, neighborhood or​ zip code. This can greatly simplify the​ search process because it​ eliminates listings with similar names that are located in​ other parts of​ the​ U.S.-or the​ world. for​ example, if​ you're looking for​ the​ listing for​ a​ Chinese restaurant called Emerald Garden in​ a​ nearby city, a​ local search will only give you the​ information for​ the​ one you want-not a​ clutter of​ listings for​ restaurants with similar names that are located hundreds or​ even thousands of​ miles away.

Today's local search gives you a​ much more personalized experience than just a​ link to​ the​ business' Web page. for​ example, if​ you search on "garden center" in​ your neighborhood, you'll see a​ list of​ the​ closest nurseries, with a​ map showing exactly where they are located. in​ addition, you'll see a​ list of​ categories featuring related businesses such as​ landscapers and​ greenhouses. You'll also see ratings and​ reviews of​ the​ business by customers sharing their experiences with the​ business.

Yahoo! Local ( is​ one of​ the​ best and​ most popular local search engines online today. it​ allows you to:

• Discover new corners of​ your neighborhood. if​ you're spending a​ day out around town, you can use Yahoo! Local to​ plan your itinerary. Find businesses you'll need to​ run errands at​ and​ check the​ business listings for​ hours and​ special considerations like sales or​ promotions. Yahoo! Local's integration with Yahoo! Maps means you'll be able to​ easily plot your destinations on a​ map, print multipoint driving directions and​ even plan your route based on traffic conditions, nearby ATMs or​ gas station locations.

• Explore new communities. Yahoo! Local helps you find businesses and​ local points of​ interest when you're traveling to​ new cities. You can rely on local knowledge by tapping into local ratings and​ reviews before you make dinner reservations at​ a​ restaurant. You can also find out where to​ get your pants pressed, look up what's playing at​ local movie theaters and​ research virtually any other service you may need while on the​ road.

• Fill your social calendar. Yahoo! Local's event listings make it​ easy to​ find out what is​ going on in​ your town. Impress your friends with knowledge about all upcoming concerts, festivals and​ shows in​ your city.

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