One of the biggest movements on the Internet is the push towards local data. Google has made sweeping changes in the last few years with apps such as Google Maps and Street View, and local directories such as the Yellow Pages have struggled to keep up. But Canpages, a Burnaby based company, is taking local search a step further by engaging with users every step of the way.
“If you put something like ‘Vancouver french restaurant’ in Google, you’ll get millions of results. If you put it in Yellowpages.ca, you’ll get thousands. We narrow the search down by neighbourhood, cuisine and other factors,” Canpages director of marketing Michael Oldewening said.
He added that rather than simply list a business, Canpages also gives users the ability to send the listing to Facebook, text the listing to a mobile phone, and otherwise customize your search, which also shows up in a built-in map application.
And the company has also built its own street view application for Vancouver, Whistler and Squamish, due for release in the next revamp of the site in a few weeks. Though it superficially resembles Google’s Street View, it boasts higher resolution photos and is tagged with every business listed on Canpages. Plans are also in the works to allow for users to virtually enter into businesses and tour them via the street view application.
“Really, it’s about wanting a greater immersive experience when viewing local results,” Oldewening said. The next cities slated for the street view app are Toronto and Montreal, he added.
Canpages also allows users to modify listings, with a Canpages employee reviewing the changes. A basic profile is free, and users can add photos and video for a fee. Once a profile is online, Canpages also uses SEO to push profiles higher in search engine rankings.
“Most people don’t understand SEO, and as for broadcast, forget about it, it’s unreachable for most small businesses,” Oldewening said.
The company does not have plans to expand into the United States. Instead, they sell their technology to American directories and take a revenue share from them.
Canpages also has a new iPhone app in the works… but more about that in a future post.