Saturday, April 27, 2013

An app that really is "free as in beer"

Free software can be "free as in beer" (i.e. no cost) or "free as in speech" (i.e. open source), or both. The Nelso Prague app takes this literally - it provides actual free beer.

The latest update to the Prague app (download link), contains three Passbook coupons for restaurants in Prague, one of which (Hergetova Cihelna) was the site of the second PragueCrunch meetup. These coupons entitle the bearer to a free beer, no purchase required, or a glass of prosecco.

We're doing this as a test of the appeal of Passbook to travelers - so if you're in Prague, download the app and have a free beer on us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nelso Prague App Now a Top 10 Travel App in Russia

A few weeks ago, we finally started charging for our Nelso Прага app ("Прага" is "Prague" in Russian). Earlier today, it moved into the top 10 for travel apps in Russia (#7).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Improved coverage of Sweden

Our roaming team of iPhone-wielding data collectors drove down the west coast of Sweden over the past few days, dramatically improving our coverage of Göteborg and Helsingborg. Helsingborg in particular is important to Nelso as it's right across the water from Helsingør, Denmark and is a popular destination for users of, our most popular site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The "Starbucks" of Norway

While translating some text from Norwegian to English, I was surprised to find the word "Starbucks" in the English translated text, because Norway doesn't have any Starbucks locations. What was triggering the Starbucks connection was a reference to the Kaffebrenneriet chain of cafes in Norway, which are ubiquitious in the Oslo metro area. However, despite the obvious similarities to the US-based Starbucks, Kaffebrenneriet is not Starbucks and it's confusing for Google to translate it as such. It would be equally confusing to translate every reference to "Milka" in a German-language text as "Hershey's" in English.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Covering a city in less than a week

Using our proprietary iPhone app to collect data, a team of four has completed data collection for the center of Oslo, Norway in less than a week. Each user added on average 250 places a day. We now have more verified listings (business data checked by our staff in the street) in Oslo than we have in Copenhagen, our current #1 market.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is the GoogleBot finally paying attention to microformats?

While checking our ranking on various Google local sites, specifically "supermarkets in Copenhagen" ( Supermarkeder i København), we came across this page in the results (see screenshot if the page has changed since I posted this). Below the main link to the site, it says "10+ records" and then goes on to list some of the records in a way that leads me to believe that they are finally showing end users the results of parsing hCard microformats. I'm sure the GoogleBot has been collecting microformat data for a long time, but this is the first time I've ever seen our listings actually improved by the fact that we are providing this data.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Politically Correct Local Search

In the process of double checking the phone number for the Restaurant Peking, a Chinese restaurant in Prague, I got a strange search result from Google (see screenshot). Google has a listing for the restaurant, but they've renamed it the Restaurant Beijing.

What's next? A listing on Google Music for the Smashing Pumpkins' Conjoined Twins Dream?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Our smallest city yet for serious data collection: Tábor, Czech Republic. With only 35,000 inhabitants, shouldn't take long to cover.

Cheese Bread

Brewsta of Czech Please posted photos of a new Georgian place in Prague called Chačapuri, which means "cheese bread" in English. I'd never heard of this dish, usually transliterated as Khachapuri, but it looks delicious.

Actually had to add a new category to the database to accommodate this place. We've got over 4,000 categories already, but never had a need for "Georgian Restaurant" until now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ústí nad Labem

We've started serious data collection in our first city of less than 100,000 inhabitants — Ústí nad Labem. In a way, this is an experiment. We expect less competition from other local search sites in a smaller city, but the value of a listing might also be smaller. In the Czech Republic specifically, there is also the possibility that lower incomes in smaller cities will affect internet use. We'll see.