EveryBlock redefines the local news

Adrian Holovaty — the guy behind the ChicagoCrime-Google Maps mashup, and now the launch of EveryBlock — is a smart guy. And not just when it comes to things like coding, but in the way he thinks about media. When we think of journalism and the “news” business, we often just think about the obvious things, like the plane crashes or the Iraq war, but in your neighbourhood there’s a whole lot more than that you might consider “news,” or at least, information worth knowing. It could be a street closure, a crime wave, a local bylaw change, and dozens of other things.

Good local newspapers cover all of those things and more — but the information isn’t always easy to find. EveryBlock.com is an attempt to use the kind of aggregation and smart filtering that a search engine like Google provides, but on a smaller scale. So far, the service is still in its infancy, but the more data Adrian and his team can bring into the mix — including newspaper stories and blog posts — the more value there will be. I think it’s a great effort, as is another local service called Outside.in, and I wish we had something like it here in the Great White North.

Update:

Fred Wilson, an investor in Outside.in, says in a comment below that bringing the service to Canada is a top priority — which I’m glad to hear. And speaking of comments, it’s worth reading the TechCrunch piece on EveryBlock if only because of the comments that Adrian Holovaty contributes in response to the concerns from several readers.

Update 2:

I think it’s worth noting that Rod Edwards tried to do something very similar to EveryBlock with a site called Blockrocker.com, and didn’t have much luck actually turning it into a business. Why? As he says in his post at Techfold, people’s interests aren’t always aligned with their specific geographic location — although we often assume that they must be. That’s a good point. One of the benefits of the Web is that it makes your actual physical location almost irrelevant.

10 thoughts on “EveryBlock redefines the local news

  1. Pingback: Is EveryBlock is going to bump into EveryProblem that BlockRocker did? « TechFold

  2. Personally I don't think either approach is very user friendly (everyblock or outside.in), and I am surpised for the cash outlays how much they suck

    At my project: http://localhero.biz/

    we are doing this in a much better way open way. Time will tell if the backend will scale, but as its not coisting me a cent it will only grow.

  3. Dear LocalHero: you'll find *not* slagging your competitors to be much more effective at spreading the word about your service.

    Mathew: thanks for mentioning my thoughts. One example of such a phenomenon was the EveryBlock tribeca page, which had some articles about a museum being threatened or some such thing. I'd say that the interest group for such a news item draws from a much larger catchment area than tribeca, and that given its niche nature probably has few people in any given district of the city, but a reasonably sized population overall. Point being: hyper-localization has yet to prove itself.

    You know what would be a worthy experiment? How about nyc.digg.com or sf.digg.com? You'd need the built in population of a popular social news site like digg to kickstart it, but then rock & roll.

    • I agree, Rod. I think local Diggs (or Reddits) would be a great idea — and
      Reddit is apparently rolling out the ability to build your own sub-Reddit.
      If I were a newspaper I would jump on that idea.

    • Your right Rod I should not slag my competitors or anybody.

      Although I think given their money and the free publicity from bloggers on the payroll (not you Rod), I don't think they need any pats on the back.

      Re local Digg the user base in any locality is very small so I am not sure it would reach critical mass. I am looking to add some sort of user content filtering to my site though shortly.
      http://localhero.biz/

  4. Pingback: nyc.digg.com « TechFold

  5. Your right Rod I should not slag my competitors or anybody.

    Although I think given their money and the free publicity from bloggers on the payroll (not you Rod), I don't think they need any pats on the back.

    Re local Digg the user base in any locality is very small so I am not sure it would reach critical mass. I am looking to add some sort of user content filtering to my site though shortly.
    http://localhero.biz/

Comments are closed.