I had an interesting experience yesterday. We wanted to get some take out chinese food from our local chinese restaurant, but didn’t have the phone number handy. So I went to our local telephone companies on-line yellow pages to find it (www.mytelus.com), but didn’t have quick success, so I decided to try Google Local. I first searched for “chinese restaurant victoria bc”. That found restaurants in the downtown area, so I then tried, “chinese restaurant saanich bc”. Bingo! I not only found all the local resteraunts, but had a labeled map of where they were. The experience was so much better than the on-line yellow pages it is not even funny.
This to me is a classic example of a business (in this case the telephone company), trying to directly transfer their old technology (the yellow pages book) to a new technology, and not doing a good job of it. It is not that you can’t find things via their web interface, its just that they could have made it so much easier and better than they did… like Google has done. The Google interface allows me to do in two steps what it takes 5 or 6 steps in the Yellow Pages web site. And when I get to the end of each process, the Google information is qualitatively better than the yellow pages information. Google not only gives me a list of possible yellow page listings, but it displays a labeled map so I can see where each establishment is physically located.
Some times it takes a fresh perspective to move old concepts to new technologies; at least if you want to take full advantage of the new technology in any case.