Hope everyone in the US had a nice Memorial Day weekend. One of nice things about these long weekends, It gives me a chance to catch up on things. This weekend, I tried out two products, Loki toolbar and LocalGuides.com. I really liked both of them. Today I will give you my review on the Loki toolbar and LocalGuides will be later this week.

Loki

you can download the Loki Toolbar here

Quick overview:
-easy install
-has option to hide toolbar (very nice)
-had no problems with toolbar locating me.
-comes with a large selection of channels
-very easy to customize with preload channels and engines via Loki website

I have been using the Google toolbar forever and I like it.  After using the Loki toolbar some though, I am thinking of dropping Google’s.  With Loki you can pick which search engine you want search.  Also, you do not need to enter a location (if you are locally searching) since Loki will determine your location. Loki uses wifi locations to figure out where you are.  Now, if the program can’t find you, you can go in and  “tune” it.

The toolbar has a set number of channels, basically it is a list of links setup by categories.  Some are weather, shopping etc. Again you can  customize this by going to Loki website and “installing” channels you want.

This is from their website: “Loki Channels are quick, one-click navigation buttons that give you immediate access to the most popular ‘location-relevant’ content on the web. We’ve organized the channels into logical categories like Restaurants, Movies, Weather, News, Entertainment and then partnered with some of the most popular sites on the Internet to add pre-packaged links on Loki. Zagat, Fandango, AccuWeather, Match.com they’re all included and ready for you to use. ”

Overall, I think it is a neat local search toolbar. I like how it “knows” where my laptop is and will search local businesses based on my location. This is a nice feature if you are traveling on business, etc and want to find out where things are relative to you.

Ok, as a small business, this as well as the other locally oriented applications that are out there should give you some incentive to get listed locally.  If not let me know. Now Loki also offers some branding options to help promote your business as well as the Loki toolbar. You can add a branded channel, or provide channel and/or toolbar downloads from your website.

Also Loki can help set you up with a small piece of javascript  (to install on your website) to detect if users coming to your website have Loki toolbar and if so, help you provide more personalized or customized content for those users.  These are very unique and interesting ways to help localize your business online. From more detailed information on this aspect of the toolbar, go to Loki support.

Download the toolbar and take it for a spin around the block. Let me know what you think.

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A couple of past articles on Loki
Loki And ‘Location Pull’
Skyhook Wireless Offers Loki Local Toolbar – Interested point from this posting: “Approximately 12% of Web search (according to comScore) happens through a toolbar. Everyone expects that number to grow over time. ”
Software turns laptops into navigators

UPDATE:  This press release just came out: Skyhook Wireless Launches Loki 2.0 – the Location-Aware Platform for the Geoweb