Hardware Stores in Montclair, New Jersey


I saw this story in the New York Times today. A company has created a new top level domain, .geo, which would allow people to search geographically via the web. Pretty cool idea, but ICANN hasn\'t approved it...yet.\"It is possible to find local services like movie theaters and car dealers on the Internet by typing your ZIP code into a search box on many Web sites. But the success of these searches depends on the indexing capabilities of the particular search engine, in addition to how well the site has been registered, two factors that can vary a great deal. It may be easy to find Web sites for museums in Florence, Italy, but shouldn\'t it be just as easy to find out what time the hardware store down the street closes?\"

\"That is the impetus behind a proposal by SRI International, a nonprofit company in Menlo Park, Calif., that is looking to reorganize some Web sites according to geography. The company (which has wholly owned commercial subsidiaries and would charge a fee for .geo registrations) has devised a new top-level domain, called .geo, and a corresponding system for classifying sites based on information having to do with neighborhoods, businesses and travel destinations. (Top-level domains like .com and .org fall at the end of Web addresses. They are the umbrella locators for Web servers.)\"

\"To me, it\'s enormously inefficient to have to search the entire Web when all you really want is information about the restaurant around the corner,\" said Mike Goodchild, a geography professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara who has worked on several digital-mapping projects.

In SRI\'s proposed .geo system, the world would be carved into \"cells,\" each represented by a local Internet server or servers, called georegistries. These cells would vary in size, depending on how much information was available for a particular geographic area. Manhattan, for example, would have hundreds of small cells, while a less populated area like Nebraska would have a few cells.

\"When a school, a store or a movie theater listed its Web site with a georegistry, it would specify its geographic position by latitude and longitude in addition to providing key words to help the georegistry classify it. SRI would provide search engines and other Web sites with a program that would enable them to search the servers within the .geo system.

\"The idea behind .geo,\" said Dr. Yvan G. LeClerc, director of SRI\'s .geo initiative, \"is to create this background infrastructure that many different applications, whether it\'s a Google or a more specialized Web site, could tap into for different purposes.\"

\"Although it is possible, for example, to type \"hardware stores\" and \"Montclair, N.J.,\" into a regular search engine, there is no way to guarantee that it will pull up hardware stores actually located in Montclair because the search engine is just looking for those words on a single Web page, Dr. LeClerc said. But at a .geo-enabled site, an Internet user could type in any key phrases along with a location, like \"hardware stores\" and \"Montclair, N.J.,\" and the .geo-enabled browser would query the GeoRegistry where information on all the Web sites of businesses or organizations in Montclair would be stored.\"