The New Web Challengers

New Names Shake Up Web Searching

Illustration: Glenn Mitsui
Look out, Google. Make way, Jeeves. The Internet is evolving--and the way people use it is changing as well. Amazon's A9.com, for example, lets you probe the contents of books. And Craigslist.org gives you a way to get personal on a very local level. I scoured the Web, asked the advice of search mavens, and spent endless hours snooping deep into Internet sites of all sorts to find the coolest, most searchable spots on the Web.

Keep It Local

Yahoo Local: Say you need a neighborhood PC repair shop or a dry cleaner. Yahoo Local lets you search within a mile of your home--or up to 50 miles away. You can save your location preferences and use a drop-down menu to repeat a recent search around town, or in a city you visit often. Broaden the search area with a few clicks, or sort the results by name or distance from an address, city, or zip code. You can view the search results on a map that highlights their location and provides even more information (see FIGURE 5

Figure 5: When searching locally, you can see your results on a map at the Yahoo Local site.
).

Chowhound: Whenever I travel, I worry that I'll walk into the worst restaurant in town. I'm not even sure I trust my own local newspaper reviews. That's why I rely on Chowhound, where the area locals undoubtedly have the last word. Whether you're looking for the best barbecue in Birmingham or top-notch sushi in Seattle, Chowhound's experts clue you in to the best of the local dives--and the eateries you should avoid.

Craigslist: If you're ready to get really local, try Craigslist, which offers regional listings for over 50 cities in the United States as well as many in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Each month you can find about 3 million new classified ads--featuring 75,000 job postings, plus personals, services, and items for sale--and more than 50 discussion forums.

Gasbuddy: In the era of $2.50-per-gallon prices, remember to visit Gasbuddy, which lists the lowest gas prices state by state--and province by province in case you're heading north.

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