AOL Launches Local Search

Is AOL taking a page from Google? Boy, it certainly appears so from what I am reading at InternetWeek. AOL’s Local Search includes movie, map and yellow page information. While I am a little suspicious as to the quality of this service, I will certainly reserve my final judgment until I can try this out first hand.

America Online Inc. on Thursday launched a local-search service that aggregates listings from major Internet brands.

The new AOL Local Search includes the Yellow Pages, CityGuide, Moviefone and MapQuest services, as well as tools that narrow searches by zip code, street address or city. The announcement followed by about a month AOL’s release of a beefed up version of its search engine.

All the major search engines, including Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN, offer local search, which is a big draw for advertisers. Twenty percent of all online look-ups are for a product or service near a person’s home, according to AOL.

Niki Scevak, analyst for JupiterResearch, a division of Juipitermedia Corp., said AOL’s decision to aggregate its many services onto one site makes it easier for online visitors to find and use them.