With much fanfare and media coverage Bing (Microsoft’s latest attempt to challenge Google) in conjunction with Portland Monthly Magazine, has launched the Bing Food Cart Finder.
This “hyperlocal” site focuses just on Portland for now, featuring directions to over 250 local food carts, along with menus and reviews.
But if you’ve been paying attention, you probably know Portlanders already have at their disposal the formidable and invaluable Food Carts Portland website, which catalogs similar information for close to every single food cart in Portland (a lot more than 250 for sure).
The Bing Food Cart Finder, however, is best viewed as a mobile app – visit www.bingfoodcarts.com in your iPhone or Android web browser to check it out. Food Carts Portland (www.FoodCartsPortland.com), on the other hand, sports a mobile theme on a smart phone, but is not optimized for easy app-like navigation.
Anyone can contribute or update information, and unlike the Bing project, it’s not proprietory. The data from the Google map was recently loaded into the PDXAPI site, so it is available to mobile app builders – there’s already an iPhone app, a web interface, and an Android app is under construction.
Why does it matter? Well, the thing about open-contribution projects is that they can outlast the initial creator’s interest or ability to maintain it. Maybe the staff at Bing (and their partner, Portland Monthly) will get bored with food carts in a year or two or decide maintaining this data isn’t very profitable. What then? By contrast, the Google-hosted food cart map has outlived my own attention span several times over, but periodically someone else takes an interest and helps bring it up to date, and now another developer is actively building on top of it. The result is sometimes less glossy, but it’s there, and continues to be useful to people who live in or visit Portland.
Read and find out more at spinnerin: Why contribute to a community project when you can build your own silo?