Urbanspoon’s imaginary geography

Urbanspoon is a restaurant booking service. Urbanspoon SF Bay Area has, at the top of the page, seven links to urbanspoon pages for other areas: Fresno, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. Six other California areas — and New York.

My guess is that these are the cities that people who are sometimes in the Bay Area are most likely to be in when they’re not in the Bay Area. From urbanspoon’s point of view this makes more sense than using simple earthbound geography.

When I click on New York, I similarly see such a mixture. Five northeastern cities: Baltimore, Hartford, “North Jersey”, Philadelphia, and Providence. And two far away: Los Angeles and the SF Bay Area. (However, I am in California, and urbanspoon may be using this information. In particular once I start clicking on cities at random I end up seeing cities that I’ve clicked on before. I won’t give any of the data I gathered this way because it seems to be taking into account my history, not just the histories of others which is what I’m trying to mine.)

Go to urbanspoon.com/choose and click on your city. What other cities do you see listed? Does this feel right to you?

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