Last week in my daily roaming online I discovered an extremely practical, well thought out application of Search and Location Based Services by Microsoft.
Pinpoint is a niche search engine / application online for the business user to find:
It comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect but someone running this really did their homework on look and feel, GUI and functionality.
Results for Businesses (real world entities) are displayed in an embedded Bing Map with all the features that Bing Maps brings with it.
Pinpoint allows the user to login with their Live ID to configure Dashboard settings. Firstly you can request your company be added to the listings. Sign Up looks like a piece of cake (easy for those of you not familiar with British-English slang)
The dashboard allows you to:
Edit Company Profile information
The thing is though that this isn’t just an incredibly user friendly application or convergence/ mash-up of several great Microsoft technologies; whoever defined this concept has created a killer app that leverages these technologies with practicality, simplicity and elegance.
One other point worth noticing is that the GUI, layout and workflow are beyond simple eye-candy. It becomes rapidly obvious that a lot of thought has gone into this aspect of the application and if this was my area of endeavour I would be looking at Pinpoint as a case study in how to do things right.
Am I gushing yet? Truthfully I am impressed and with a background in QA that includes usability, GUI and functional testing it is not often I like something this much.
My only criticism right now is that the four countries where this is running are UK, US, Netherlands and India. However, don’t let this deter you. The sign up section is not restricted to users from only these countries.
Now personally I just use IE8 for all my browsing in Windows XP however with a nod again to my QA and testing background I ran a search result for Pinpoint through Adobe Browserlabs (Browserlabs will have to be the subject of another post. Adobe has created an invaluable tool for viewing how a website will look in specific browsers).
The URL included a Bing Map in the results in 2D and all data displayed according to the test for:
Internet Explorer 7 and 8 for Windows XP
Firefox 3.5 for Windows XP and OS X
Chrome for Windows XP
Safari for OS X
Finally I decided to follow @mspinpoint on Twitter and I asked them if this was going to be an as is service or if there was going to be an API that users could customize for their data/ web-site. Below is a screen capture of this dialog:
My recommendation is that if you haven’t visited this site yet, then you should drop by and think how you are going to use this great technology.