HereHere: Microsoft's automated hyperlocal news for NYC - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Mar. 13, 2014 8:45 am

HereHere: Microsoft’s automated hyperlocal news for NYC

Microsoft experiments with creating super short digests of 311 complaints and calls on a daily hyperlocal site.

Screenshot from HereHere.com

Microsoft has released HereHere, a site that compiles 311 reports daily and releases bite sized summaries of them, by New York City neighborhood, on a Bing powered map. It’s trying to be Everyblock with more personality.

A few examples from around Brooklyn for March 12th with direct quotations:

  • Northwest Brooklyn (Dumbo and the area): “I feel amused. Ha! It’s been a while since this has come up, a few concerns about a sprinkler and a few animal waste complaints. Big improvements over the last few days – no reports of mold.”
  • Canarsie: “I’m fortunate! No mailbox concerns, reports of animal waste, or broken parking meter concerns.”
  • Bay Ridge & Bensonhurst: “Uh oh… That’s the most I’ve seen of this recently 9 graffiti issues, a few water conservation concerns, and 5 bad street condition concerns.”

Punctuation errors in the quotes above are reproduced from the auto-generated text. It’s a little strange at first, but the text is meant to personify the neighborhood and give visitors some time context for the kinds of complaints showing up.

The site also offers some additional level of analysis through its Leaderboard. It looks for trends and overlaps between neighborhoods. For example, today, Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights and Southeast Bronx are “Twins” for having the most similar 311 calls in common. Borough Park gets “Sharpest eyes on the street” for making the most public safety reports.

Users can register with the site with Windows Live or Facebook and then subscribe to up to three neighborhoods for periodic emails about them. The email does not reveal anything that isn’t on the site however.

While the site’s promo video says that its easier to dig deeper, that isn’t evident yet. Not only is there a way so far to get a greater breakout of complaints, you also can’t go back in time to look at past summaries for a neighborhood. At least not so far. The site also encourages visitors to visit their local community board meetings.

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Brady Dale

Brady Dale is a tech reporter, comedian and storyteller. In July 2015 he joined the New York Observer. Brady was Technical.ly Brooklyn's lead reporter from August 2013 till June 2015. A native of Pittsburg, Kansas, he went to Cornell and worked as a progressive community organizer for over a decade before quitting his job to pursue writing.

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