Ahmed, a good friend and colleague of mine (okay, I technically work for the company he runs, but that doesn’t matter in today’s Internet-based economy, does it?) has just won a “contest” against himself to construct a local search engine in 24 hours. He writes about it on localbrit.co.uk:
About a week ago, by what can only be described as a freak series of coincidences, I had a database of business-data for the UK fall into my lap. I thought to myself – I was waiting on the redesign to be completed, so I decided to give it a go.
Incidentally, the very day I was going to start, my dog was going nuts and would not shut the hell up. Lumbering from bed at 7:00 am, I was working half an hour later, and by 8:00 am was ready to tackle the local search engine.
And thus began a twisted journey. Racing against the clock, I set about to create a functional search engine that spanned all of the UK. But good enough to be actually useful to someone who might be searching.
Barring the speed of the search engine (now fixed), I succeeded in what I set out to do. Exactly 24 hours after I had started sat a shiny new site. From domain registration to design to programming, it was all done in a span of 24 hours.
Now Jason, another colleague of mine, and I have been toying with the idea of a Manila-based search for some time now. It seems we do have the data lying around somewhere, and it’s just a matter of creating the localized search engine itself (either iBegin or LocalBrit style). Heck, maybe iBegin could even expand to include Manila (hint, hint!).
Only issue I see is that Google Maps (the Web version) still doesn’t have high-res aerial shots of Metro Manila. Neither does Google Maps nor Google Earth have vector data for Metro Manila–so that could pose a problem. But perhaps this can be easily solved if we can mobilize the Pinoy Blogosphere to help populate the database for vector information.
At any rate, the LocalBrit story is quite an inspiring one. If there’s a will (and dogs that won’t stop barking), then there’s a way.