Online mapping service MapQuest has announced a significant shift in strategy that will see it go from providing directions to providing 'rankings' of neighborhoods.
The online mapping provider, which faces tough competition from Google and Bing Maps, announced this past week that it would provide travelers with information on areas using a new product called MQVibe.
Described as a 'social-algorithmic platform,' MQVibe allows users to pull up an instantaneous profile of a neighborhood that is overlaid onto a map, complete with a ranked list of the 'top' places in that area that can be easily shared with friends.
The service offers different lists for activities such as shopping, services, spas, lodging and restaurants, with each attraction's 'Vibe Score' reflecting a calculation made on the basis of "interactions on MapQuest.com, cartographic analysis and user signals."
The website features an element of user input, with an easy dialog to up or down vote a particular attraction.
Alongside each distinct neighborhood is a set of scores that rank it by factors such as 'popularity', 'residential' or 'edgy', along with a helpful 'walkability' rating based on how easy it is to access common amenities without a car.
Future developments will include an app-based version, gamification and check-ins, MapQuest said -- sadly, the service is currently only available in the US.