MapQuest Moves From Directions to Rankings

Reported by ABC News’ Gillian Mohney:

 After 15 years of providing users with the best route between two points, MapQuest now ranks neighborhoods according to such lifestyle criteria as restaurants, bars, shopping and services.

Facing increased competition from Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, the AOL-owned company launched MapQuest Vibe – or MqVibe — Thursday – in beta mode. Using algorithms that take into account user votes, searches on MapQuest and cartographic data, MqVibe  ranks neighborhoods and local attractions in real time.

The site creates a list of a neighborhoods most popular attractions, including cafes, movie theaters, salons, and then lets users change MapQuest’s rankings by giving each listing a thumbs up or thumbs down vote. Reaching into 27,000 U.S. cities, MapQuest Vibe covers more than 50,000 neighborhoods.  

Unlike other sites that rank and rate listings, MapQuest Vibe tries to take in the “personality” of a neighborhood, rating places according to their “edginess” or “burbiness.” Vijay Bangaru, the vice president of product, told that MapQuest Vibe looks to give a complete picture of an area. “We give you the neighborhood context,” said Bangaru. “Tell me where to eat but also where to go hang out and where to spend the evening.”

While the MapQuest Vibe went live today, the iPhone application is still a few weeks coming.

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