14:57 PM

GrayBoxx: Room for another Local Search Box?

About a year ago I met with Bob Chandra, founder of GrayBoxx. At the time, GrayBoxx was still in very stages of development around the idea of getting recommendations for local businesses from the contact info in people's address books and telephone logs.

Mr Chandra says,"I already know who my favorite businesses are because they are the ones I call and they are the ones whose phone numbers I already have." That's a great start to finding out the recommendations of other people, without any tagging or reviews or community action to create that content.

GrayBoxx also uses other sopurces of data to compile an impressive database of listings. It has 185m recomendations compared with 3m for Yahoo Local.

It is still in stealth mode but is building up its user base with plans for a broad launch in early 2008. The Sierra Ventures backed company says it has developed its own version of GOOG's PageRank, but one that is tuned to the recomendation of local services.

The local search market is extremely competitive but it is an area that is poorly served. Yes, some sites are good for say, restaurant reviews, while others for automotive repairs. None offer a comprehensive service, at least none so far...

GrayBoxx just announced a board of advisors that includes Rajeev Motwani, one of the top experts in search and co-developer of PageRank. It's all about the algorithm...