Microsoft’s new MSN Local preview site is set to launch in 2010, Scott Moore and Cyrus Krohn announced on their “localizing the portal” panel at ILM:09. MSN Local will leverage Microsoft assets like its 100 million U.S. MSN users, Bing, Hotmail, and its new partnership with NBC-U and Hearst for 3,000 video clips in 36 markets. Moore says the overall goal is to add value to local by going beyond restaurant reviews and events to include content that drives frequent visits (news, weather, sports, traffic) and deeper content like that offered by Microsoft’s acquisition of EveryBlock, which aggregates publicly available local data like restaurant inspections, police reports, etc.; normalizes it; and serves it by neighborhood. MSN Local will offer its own content, applications and services but add value as a platform for third parties to provide complementary value to users and partners. Live feeds such as Twitter will be featured, and Moore says this is a ripe area for search innovations. He cited examples of live Twitter feeds being searchable via Bing and then mapped locally with drill down “human scale” (i.e., digital photos) views at the street level.
Scott ended his ILM:09 presentation with three predictions:
Hyperlocal is not hyper hype. It is real and can be monetized. It will become a large business.
MSN Local will complete and not compete with local portals by adding value as a platform for third parties.
Consolidation in local is inevitable; there will be a shakeout.