Don’t know what to do with your free time? There’s a search engine for that. Goby, available at http://www.goby.com/, aims to link you with leisure activities. It’s in beta, and if its logo and home page background are any indication, it’s also underwater…
Instead of a single query box, you have to tell Goby at least two of three things: what you want to do, where you want to do it, and when you want to do it. The “what” can be any one of over three hundred categories ranging from food and drink to activities to events. (Just start typing something and Goby will make suggestions.) The “where” looks to be any place in the US, but make sure you spell the place name right — Goby didn’t give me any suggestions until I’d typed almost a full place name. And the “When” is just what it sounds like — you can specify today, tomorrow, next month, etc. You can also enter a custom date or just say “anytime”.
I told Goby I wanted to go hiking in Virginia anytime. It gave me 250 results, starting with the First Landing State Park. The results show the name of the place, an image, and where the listing came from (in this case backpacker.com.) There are also additional buttons to show more info, get photos, or search for what’s nearby. In each of these cases a small pink box opens under the search result and gives you the extra data there on the results page.
In the case of the images, Goby goes on the Internet to find those, so I was a little suspicious about what it would find. “First Landing State Park” is not a name with unusual words in it, so I was afraid my results would be generic. I’m not sure they were all correct, as I’ve never been to FLSP, but there was nothing offensive or way off.
If you just want the site result, click on the name of the place in the search result; Goby links to it in a new window.
I searched Goby again, this time asking for music in Boston in January. Goby again came up with 250 results, but the results were more of a mixed bag; apparently asking for music is too generic. I got everything from theater events to a museum exhibit to something called the “Harry Potter: The Exhibition.” There were musical events available, but they were scattered through the listings.
Goby is a good idea, though you might have to tweak your searches a little to get what you want. I see a lot of possibilities as more APIs offer geolocation tools and services. Pictures of the First Landing State Park are great, but how about tweets from folks who have been recently or who are nearby?