At the recent Local Social Summit in London I moderated a panel about Real-Time Local Search. It featured Dave Ingram of BrownBook, Seb Provencher of Praized, Andrew Hunter of Qype and Sokratis Papafloratos of Trusted Places. The discussion was excellent and interesting because definitions and concepts were elusive and there were lots of strong views.
Speaking of which, in an SEL column Ingram pushes back, as they say, against the concept that RT search is going to become critical or ubiquitous in local:
What’s the popular demand for real-time local search?
Well, you see here, I think it rather depends upon who you are, what you’re searching for, and when you need it. For me, it keeps coming back to those three dimensions above.
I do believe in some cases this thing that’s being called Real-Time Local Search is incredibly important, but it’s not important across the board. The best way in which I can illustrate this is to offer a few user scenarios (I’m sure you can think of many more) where I try to assess whether real-time local search is likely to be important to me (consumer) or a business (supplier).
Ingram makes many excellent points in his thoughtful piece. RT search may make sense when I need help or a recommendation “now,” but what are those scenarios? This is the subject of Ingram’s writing.
P2P communication becomes more and more interesting in a local-mobile context (e.g., FB, Twitter, Aardvark) but I agree that not every scenario justifies a “real-time” solution.