Commentary

Google Losing To Facebook In Mid-America Small Towns

Wyoming's Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone National Park, are two of the many wonders the state offers. My husband and I bought land in a very small town in Star Valley, about five hours east of Deer Valley, Utah, where MediaPost holds its  bi-yearly Search Insider Summit in December, and 60 miles south of Jackson, Wyoming, which offers ski enthusiasts some of the best slopes in North America. This is where AT&T and Verizon step out when it comes to cellular service and Internet access. Smaller companies like Silver Star Communications step in to pick up the slack.

I know. We plan to build a modest home in the area. So, this week we took a travel trailer out to the property. Rather than stay in a nearby motel, I wanted to wake up among trees, moose, deer, and elk. Local residents say bear, mountain lions and other wild animals live in these parts, but they rarely see them. Wild strawberries and huckleberries grow on the mountainside, along with aspen and pine trees, feeding the animals that stray from Bridger-Teton National Forest.

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Hello from Wyoming. I gained firsthand insight into Google's plan to give businesses in rural American towns help in setting up and running Web sites, but the Mountain View, Calif. company may be losing out to Facebook, which has attracted consumers who don't frequent the Internet, text friends to keep in touch, or use email. They do use the social site to communicate with neighbors and friends.

Misty's List -- a lot like Angie's List -- supports Star Valley residents in Wyoming by offing a way to connect with plumbers, gardeners and other types of services. The site, hosted on Facebook by Misty Hoshaw Buchanan, has about 9,044 members. It lists events and items for sale from local residents.

Facebook's search feature allows members to search and find everything from tractors and horse trailers to sheep. It's also a way for locals to search for craft fairs and benefit concerts. But beware. Those who agree to sell or buy an item and for some reason do not show up to complete the deal will likely end up on the The Good, Bad and Wrong Transactions found under the tab "Files" at the top of the Misty's List page. Her strict rules aim to keep buyers, sellers, and individuals who come to the page in line.

Google is trying. The company announced Thursday additions to its mobile nearby feature for location-based searches. The company will serve up to four ads for businesses on location-related searches for "Nearby" businesses.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend. See you on Tuesday, back in Huntington Beach, Calif. 

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