Sunday, March 18, 2012

Geocaching.com Launches New Search Tool

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Well, I have good news and bad news. Last week I saw that the folks over at Groundspeak have revamped a really important part of the popular geocaching.com website: the search tool for finding all of those fun caches. That’s the good part. The bad part is that I’m not 100% sure that the new search feature is worth the trouble.

While it certainly looks nice and shiny, Geocaching.com has changed a lot of the more ‘advanced’ features to Premium Members only, leaving basic members a little bit in the dark. There are several sorting and filtering options that simply cannot be accessed unless you’re a paid member. Which, the logic is that only serious geocachers would need those features, and serious geocachers are going to be paid members. Still, I can’t help but be a little disappointed.

The search function also seems to be missing a few key things at first launch including the ability to export searches to a phone or GPS device. Groundspeak assures everyone in their FAQ post that the feature is coming soon, but I’m a little puzzled as to why it wasn’t made a priority before launch. There is also not an easy way to save searches, aside from just bookmarking it in your browser.

Of course, there are also some pretty sweet-looking (premium) features like the ability to add multiple usernames when searching for a cache with a group in order to find a cache that is new to everyone in the group. The search tool is a little complicated, but has a lot of nifty features packed in there for Premium Members.

I can’t say I’m currently a fan, but I’m also not a paid member so my options are pretty limited all of the sudden. I also can’t help but feel like the new search puts entirely too much pressure on basic members to upgrade. Although I do recognize that companies need to make money, it still comes off as a little weird. Some of the comments on the FAQ page indicate that I’m not the only one that’s a little perturbed by this. But what do you think? Have you used the search tool yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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