Over at ZDNet, Garrett Rogers is always pretty good about keeping tabs on Google. Recently he stumbled upon a new service that Google doesn’t want the public to see quite yet because it was added to the robots.txt file. The robots.txt protocol is used to prevent web spiders and web robots (like what search engines use) from accessing certain parts of a website. When Google added http://www.google.com/m/lcb to the list, he was curious and went to check it out.
The “m” in the url tells us that this is a mobile service and after taking a look at it, it reminds me in some ways of Yahoo’s oneSearch Mobile web service. Yahoo released their search feature back in March and it provides you with quick and easy access to important answers while on the go. You enter in your zip code and then it provides you with relevant results. Like Yahoo, this new Google service has you enter in your zip code or location and then it will display results.
Essentially your zip code is the only information you need to input into the Google service and then the rest is just browsing which will be helpful on a mobile device. You can browse businesses broken into categories like food and restaurants, travel, transportation, retail, entertainment, and more. They also show what people in the area are searching for. Additionally, there’s a “Going to” section where they list out different places a visitor to the zip code might visit and then provide addresses and phone numbers.
For a service that Google doesn’t want people to see, it looks pretty good although it does not work quite right on my iPhone. We imagine this will be a service that Google will introduce within the coming months. For now we’re just wondering what the “lcb” on the end of the URL stands for!