Announcing the EveryBlock mobile site

May032010

We’ve launched a version of EveryBlock optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones.

With our focus on timely news organized by location, we think it’s particularly important for us to offer a great mobile experience. Browsing your block’s news from a desktop computer is one thing, but having the ability to view recent news near where you’re standing, when you’re out in the neighborhood, is useful and interesting. We’ve been thinking about these mobile implications for a while now, and ever since we launched our iPhone application, we’ve gotten a steady stream of feedback from people requesting an EveryBlock application for their type of phone, such as Android or Palm Pre.

As we thought about it, we quickly realized two things. One, we’d go crazy creating and maintaining separate applications for all of these platforms; it wouldn’t be the best use of our time. Two, we can create a compelling EveryBlock mobile version without having to make native applications — by making a mobile version of the Web site itself. (This seems to be an issue a lot of Web developers are grappling with. See this Los Angeles Times article for some background.)

So we’ve built a mobile site, available now. Using an Android phone, Palm webOS phone, certain BlackBerry devices, iPhone or iPod Touch, point your browser at everyblock.com, and you should be redirected to the mobile version. If your particular mobile device isn’t handled automatically, you can always go to m.everyblock.com manually. (That also works in a normal Web browser on a desktop computer.)

As you’d expect, the mobile site is heavily optimized for one use-case: finding recent news around where you’re standing. For iPhone and Android phones (and possibly other phones with GPS functionality), we can automatically locate you and send you to a page tailored for your block. (You can also type in a location manually or select from a list of neighborhoods or ZIP codes.) The resulting timeline page has been designed to look and work good on small screens, while maintaining the same level of useful information as on our “full” site.

What does this mean for our iPhone application? The new mobile site lets you do pretty much everything the iPhone app lets you do, and the former works on more devices than just an iPhone. Plus, we can make improvements to the mobile site very easily; making a change to the iPhone app involves a much-criticized Apple approval process that can take weeks. We’re planning to continue offering the iPhone app in the iPhone App Store, but we haven’t decided whether to make improvements to it over time.

Give the new mobile site a shot and let us know what you think at feedback@everyblock.com.

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