A new site SuggestLocal seeks to solve the problem of figuring out where to go and what to do with a group of colleagues or friends. The site isn’t focused on rating local venues (it incorporates Yahoo ratings); rather it’s focused on enabling collaboration and helping people make group decisions, which is notoriously difficult.
Users conduct a search, select venues and then email those to a group of friends. You can annotate listings and there are a number of other features and personalization tools. The site has some bugs and there’s no obvious business model (other than advertising). But it takes an interesting Web-based approach to a real use case.
CEO Debjyoti ‘Dj’ Das explained some of the functionality in an email:
As users browse through the listing of venues, the site automatically shows them what they, their immediate friends and their social network have been suggesting in the past. User’s benefit from the information of the suggestions being made in their social network and make better selections. But for this, the users didn’t have to painfully build up their social network yet again on another site. The site automatically built it up for them as they used the site and sent out emails with the list of suggestions.
When the users have to send out emails to their friends with their list of suggestions, they only have to type in the email ids of their friends once. Next time onwards the site remembers it and as the user starts to type in the email id of a friend, it automatically prompts them with matching email ids.
For every event discussed and for every participant, a personalized page is created for making selections and discussions. But to access this page, no one needs to open accounts or login. The email that each of them received contains a personalized link which gives them personalized access to this page.
Users can send instant messages to each other as they discuss about the list of suggestions. But no one needs to download and install any software to take use of this functionality. It just works right inside the page!
I’m not sure there’s a full-fledged business here but it’s an interesting collection of tools that might be helpfully integrated into a larger local search offering.
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