EveryBlock gives users an easy to use resource to discover local news stories, discussions and more. The site helps users get in touch with what I going on within their local neighborhood. Users can enter an address and read stories related to local news, crime and neighbor discussions. Users can also browse content by topic. EveryBlock provides even more insight into recent hot topics in the user’s local area through trend tracking features. The city list includes many popular United States cities, although the list is currently relatively limited. The available EveryBlock cities include Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Portland, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, D.C. Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Houston are available but are currently in a beta status. The site also provides users with a voting form that allows them to request the addition of another city.
EveryBlock was founded in 2007 by Daniel X. O’Neil and Adrian Holovaty as a localized services website. Users would be able to find out what is going on in their local community. The site was created to take data from numerous resources rather than just one or two. Those resources currently include Flickr, Yelp, Craigslist, government websites and public data bases. The current EveryBlock team includes developers Paul Smith and Joseph Kocherhans as well as designer Wilson Miner. EveryBlock has been acquired by MSNBC.com in August, 2009.
The internet is a big place full of information. It is easy to lose touch with what is important on a local level. EveryBlock provides users with an easy way to get in touch with what is going on in their neighborhood. Users can quickly view recent news stories and check for trends that could indicate a topic or event of significance in their community.
The EveryBlock website uses just enough open space to create a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere for users. The site utilizes a dark grey background that creates a pleasing contrast against the green and white of the EveryBlock logo. Local information is presented on a white background that prevents the various types of content from becoming too busy on the city pages.
EveryBlock does not require a log in for users to view city information on the site. There is a log in option that becomes available after the user clicks on one of the available cities listed down the left hand side of the homepage. After doing so, the user can click on a small white “register” link nestled in the upper, right hand corner of the city page. The user can click either the Facebook or Twitter buttons to log in using their social networking account or provide an email address. After submitting an email address, the user must check their inbox for a message that will include further instructions. The site advises the user that the message usually arrives in minutes but can take up to a few hours.
EveryBlock does not charge users a subscription fee for account access. Anyone can browse the city pages, even without logging in. The site notes that it was originally funded by the Knight Foundation but has since been acquired by MSNBC.
The concept behind EveryBlock could be appealing to anyone, however it is really only useful for users who live in or near the cities the site currently covers. The city list is growing, and users can provide suggestions to get their city added.