ZipLocal launches groovy hyper-local Canadian search service

I wouldn't necessarily blog about all of my client work - in fact, there are a fair number of client things that will always remain "off the blog", either for reasons of confidentiality, or simply because they're just not particularly relevant in the stream of stuff I write about here.

This new client, however, is one I think is genuinely relevant, interesting, and exciting.

A week and a half ago, Tamera and I met with Elaine Kunda - CEO of ZipLocal for the first time.

Twelve days later, and here we are announcing the launch of their completely re-developed and exceptionally slick hyper-local search service. And this thing rocks.

Yes, I know they're a client (so they are, quite literally, paying me to say this), and I've vacillated in the past over the fuzzy issue of promoting clients on my blog - but I can't not love this service.

Simple thumbnail of what it does: other search engines and business directories are generally pretty good when you want to find specific information by address or business name. They're not usually so good at combining the concepts of categories and neighbourhoods.

Google Maps, for example, can tell me how to drive from my home address to our regular dentist's office - but it wasn't much use a few weeks ago when I had a dental emergency on the weekend and needed to find the nearest emergency clinic to the Beach.

ZipLocal is perfect for that kind of search, or for finding sushi joints near the office, or a place to get my shoes fixed if they suddenly spring a leak in Ahuntsic. And I love the way it lets me do things like flip the full details of a listing as an SMS message to my cellphone. Groovy. OK, I'm gushing. Sorry.

The service is still in beta at the moment; they're busily adding more and more info to the directory and rolling out new features over the next few weeks. I'm hoping there'll be a mobile version at some point in the future, and a blog widget would be nice. I'll shut up now, but check it out for yourself - especially if you're in Toronto or Montreal (where the data is deepest right now). Let me know what you think.