Consumers looking to map out a Saturday morning errand run, or a Saturday night bar-hop – and find out about any special offers along the way—can now do so easily via MetroSeeq, a Portland, OR startup by Intel-vet Kevin Chen.The site was launched two weeks ago, and has already had 40,000 visitors.
Chen said he was motivated to build the service after moving to four cities in three years and never really knowing what was out there, location- wise. (I know the feeling). “I eat at Subway a lot,” he says.
What he’s done is take the API from Google Maps, sort local listings by category (i.e. Japanese Restaurants, Indian Restaurants) and overlay promotions from a variety of promotions services, including Entertainment.com, Restaurant.com and Passport Unlimited.com.
One of the service’s features is that it does “progressive searches,” so that users who have already mapped themselves over to Horton Plaza can find something in the vicinity instead of starting back at the beginning. Another feature is the use of a spinwheel to randomly highlight cuisines of the day and other applications to users who are just browsing. The spinwheel is also deployed to highlight “Top Seeqs” based on what gets searched for the most. The service is also beginning to integrate reviews from Yelp.
Several additional features are planned. For instance, Chen expects to similarly highlight local news, events and services. Chen notes that Google’s maps can be customized by users for any purpose (i.e. personal jogging routes).
The service is currently being demoed as a destination site, but it is also being provided to publishers on a white label, affiliate marketing basis While Chen has started with restaurants, he emphasizes that the service can be sorted by any category. In fact, he sees a great deal of potential in apartments.