Stodgy Craigslist Finally Tests Maps With Listings

Rare stab at innovation comes after two startups tried to move in on turf
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2012 2:37 PM CDT
Craigslist is adding maps to some of its listings, after long resisting the move.   (AP Photo/Craigslist)

(Newser) – Those browsing Craigslist real estate listings in San Fransisco or Portland might notice a seemingly unremarkable thing: A street map at the bottom of the listing that helpfully pinpoints where the place is. The site is experimenting with the upgrade in those two cities, which "would be humdrum news if it were about any other website," writes Ryan Tate at Wired. At long last, the "17-year-old Craigslist is experimenting with the sort of innovation it has long resisted."

So why the change? Craigslist isn't saying much, but Talking Points Memo suggests it may have been nudged by two startups that started culling Craigslist ads and creating their own maps. Craigslist filed copyright suits and soon started its own mapping experiment using data from OpenStreetMap, a website that aims to provide free maps based on volunteer contributions, ala Wikipedia. "So there’s a certain irony to Craigslist suing other companies for creating maps with Craigslist ad data—claiming a breach of proprietary content—then turning around and using an open, crowd-sourced mapping solution to create its own maps," writes TPM's Carl Franzen. (Read more Craigslist stories.)

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