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Sep 18, 2007 05:29 PM

More Places features

We launched phase one of Places a couple of months ago, and thanks to the dedicated work of many of you (special thanks for cleaning up the cuisine info), we’ve got a great start on a deep restaurant database. Today we debut the two most-requested additions to the feature: a way to add a Place without linking from a topic, and an easy way to get to the Places pages.

First, adding a place. If you search for a Place and don't find it, you'll see a link that says: "Didn't find what you were looking for? Add a place now." We thought that requiring a search first was the best way to direct users to the rich board & place content that we may already have, but if you think this is inconvenient, let us know.

Add a Place:

Second, finding Places. We've added hub pages. Places hub pages, like this one for Los Angeles ( are the front doors to regions’ Places pages. We’ve launched with just a handful of these hubs, for some of the more trafficked regions; we’ll expand to all the boards soon. Right now, each hub has a Google map, a list of most recently added places, ways to search and browse restaurants, and recent posts. For cities that have them, there are also recent Digests. We’ll add more content as we go along.

You can find these hub pages from the top navigation bar on the front page. So, for example, if you go to the front page, click on the Places carat, you’ll see a list of regions that correspond to highly trafficked boards. Click on Manhattan and you’ll go to the Manhattan front page.

Manhattan Front Page:

We've already begun work on a slew of Phase II enhancements & improvements, so look for changes in the coming months including ability to navigate through places using the map, pulling board posts onto relevant places, neighborhood browsing, saved places on "My Chow" and more.

The engineers have been working very hard on the features we are launching today and the ones to come, and of course on the frustrating technical difficulties that many of you have been having. There will be more snags, I'm sure. But please give the features a try, keep telling us what you think, and we'll keep trying to improve them.

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  1. I hope you are aware of the bugs currently affecting "Places".

    The major one being the fact that you can not add the link of the search result you want, the system seems to default to a particular result no matter what.

    Please see the "introducting places" thread for more information.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatfood

      Yes, that's a priority to fix. The engineers are working on it.

    2. The new, non-hidden Add A Place feature is fine except for the new LTAP design.

      CH needs to explain the LTAP change (results list limit to 4 places) because it seems more like a bug than a feature. Limiting by Region is a good first step BTW.

      If we don't know how the new LTAP supposed to work and why, how will we know when it's broken??

      1. I noticed that after selecting a particular Cuisine (Vietnamese) the LA Hub map shows only the 20 most recently updated Places. Huh? I hope that was a snap decision that can be changed.

        I would Expect that All of the Places for a particular cuisine would show up. I hope that CH isn't arbitrarily restricted to the limits of Google Maps e.g. 100 placemarks max per map.

        Selecting the places per Neighborhood would be useful but that's in the future :-). What constitutes a 'Neighborhood' is in itself controversial.

        4 Replies
        1. re: DiveFan

          I agree... it would be great to not be limited to the 20 most recent. I noticed there's a "see all" link, which is great. But then it goes away from the map to a laundry list. I'd much prefer to see more on the map itself.

          If there's a limit to the number on the map, then perhaps there could be a user filter on which to display? For example, 'most recent' or 'most relevevant' or 'closest' (which would require the user to indicate an address... which sounds like a phase II project). At the minimum, it would be great to have the option of showing the most recent 20, 50, 100 or something like that.

          Finally, the plans you describe for phase 2 sound very good. What will really make this helpful and interactive if when you can drag around a neighborhood map and see ALL the places that have been tagged... so you can do an interactive search by neighborhood, regardless of cuisine, etc. I was in chicago yesterday and needed to find a place very near O'Hare airport. So I had to search the board. and I tried searching places. What I found was hard to determine what was really close or not. But if there'd been an interactive places search in google maps, I could have simply gone to the chicago map, zoomed in on the o'hare airport and seen what was nearby. That's going to make this really, really helpful. Seriously.

          It sounds like that's what you are planning for phase II right? Very cool if so.

          1. re: adamclyde

            Right - that is what we're planning, to be able to drag the map around, zoom in, and see everything in the area. I think it will be cool.

            1. re: jane

              agree. How long off is phase 2? And, will they be introducing new regions along the way, or launch a new batch when they roll out phase 2? I'm anxious for a tristate region!

              1. re: adamclyde

                We'll going to be rolling out new features gradually in the next couple of months, and that does mean new hubs.

        2. The new "Region" field in Places items has problems. It was added after most items in the current database had been entered, and in some cases it's incorrect. Several Manhattan places were categorized as Outer Boroughs, for example. I've just finished correcting some of them, but while they now show Region=Manhattan, they still turn up in an Outer Boroughs Places search.

          Another problem: If you try to change the Region to Other, the edit won't stick. Here's a Singapore restaurant that turns up under Outer Boroughs: . After numerous attempts to edit it, the system stubbornly continues to list its region as Outer Boroughs. Here's one more, a New Jersey place erroneously categorized under Manhattan:

          3 Replies
            1. re: squid kun

              Yes, thanks so much for fixing the errors. You're right; we wanted to start working on a "browse by neighborhood" feature and we got a little reckless on the neighborhood entries. We'll look at that problem of not being able to change the region.

              1. re: jane

                Another thing that I noticed this morning when looking at the Manhattan hub is that the map included a number of non Manhattan places - NJ, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. I checked, and the "region" was correct for those places.

          1. Do you intend to create the option to add a link to an existing thread without posting a reply? This is the primary obstacle preventing me from linking old threads.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              In subsequent versions of the hubs, we're planning to automatically link relevant threads. In order for the content to be manageable, we'll probably provide only the most recent threads. So we will -- probably not in the next rev, but soon -- provide a way to get those relevant but old threads up there.