local search APIs and mashups

I was working like crazy for last couple of days with Yahoo and Google search APIs. I was trying to qualify/clean sales lead records using the local search for businesses. I naturally expected Google to do better, but their webservice is really Beta, it is not really able to do local searches and give me back the result set with address information – it can only give back the search result snippet. At the same time, Yahoo exceeded my expectations – it gave me a resultset with address, phone number, URL and a details URL which is really cool- it shows the map for business, category of business etc. I am able to specify sort criteria – relevance, distance or rating.

This experiment sort of initiated me to the power of webservices as well – within matter of seconds, I was able to run a list of 1000 businesses through Yahoo local search API and get results back with standardized addresses, phone number, URL etc.

I attempted this because I saw another one which was using Google API to do spelling suggestion in their application.

This word mash-up was coming up in my radar for some time and now I know for first hand what it is. It is fun to do, powerful and as long as the grey areas of security, limit of usage etc are within control, it can add real value to businesses.

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