I haven't said a lot here about what I've been working on at Craigslist recently. But Craig mentioned me today in his blog and that made me remember that I should say something. :-)
Much of my work has been behind the scenes infrastructure stuff, but some of that is translating into new features that craigslist users can see. And, as of this morning, a lot more users are seeing the fruits of that labor.
As I noted a few weeks back in Sphinx Search at Craigslist, I've been hacking a lot on search. Here's a screen shot to show you what I've been calling "nearby search" (though "nearby results" is probably more appropriate).
If you run a search in a city and there aren't many results, we'll also run the search in nearby areas to see if we can find matches there too. The above example was a search for "2008 mazda" in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. The "nearby" results are clearly separated from local matches and local matches are still given priority.
The feedback has been generally positive so far. Though, with any change, some folks aren't happy. I can't say it's going to stay in this exact form. We may need to tweak the interface, the radius of the nearby search areas, and so on. But on the whole I think it's a helpful improvement when you're looking for something that's a bit harder to find and you're willing to drive an hour or two.
As of earlier today, it's available in most smaller and medium sized US cities. It'll probably come to the remainder of cities before long too. I've been testing it for about a week and a half, starting with about a dozen cities and then adding about twenty more late last week. This morning I mostly flipped the big switch.
Of course, this opened the flood gates for similar feature requests: custom radius searches, state wide searching, search ALL of craigslist, etc.
In related news, a couple months back I expanded the search help page to include advanced search syntax, including grouping, negation, OR queries, and more.
Posted by jzawodn at March 05, 2009 03:47 PM