Crawling the Internet searching for event data? Yoiks. But that’s what BusyTonight is doing, a new search engine for events in the US. (And available at BusyTonight.com .) And though the site submission warned me that the number of listings in the next ten days would increase by two or three times, there’s enough here now to warrant a look.
Search off the front page is for keyword and date. You can also specify a metro area, search across all areas, or get a directory of events broken out by data. (You can see some spider-weirdness when you glance through this directory; while there are events like museum exhibits and sports events, there are also… road closures. Okay, I guess TECHNICALLY that’s an event, but….)
I did a search for jazz in New York with events starting August 15. The search results showed page title, date, and some snippets. The snippets were for the most part not very useful; I had to click on the Details link to really learn about these events. Details did provide for the most part a useful page of information including a map, extensive summary, and date. It’d be nice if there were a quick way for that information to pop up right on the results page.
In addition to searching and browsing by area, you may also browse by category and tags. There aren’t many tags here at the moment, but the category area is extremely well-populated; some of the categories are extremely specific (place names) while other ones are a bit odd (“venue”?)
This is an interesting site. On the one hand, the idea of plowing through unstructured Web pages and pulling out event data is nervy, in a good way. On the other hand, the snippets on the result pages weren’t useful for the most part, I found. How about getting that great Details page more to the front-and-center?