Here's a cool little example of why I think Radar is such a great product. I came in to town yesterday for 24 hours—we're spending the rest of the summer out on Shelter Island—to do a couple of meetings, including one this morning on 57th Street. My plan was to do the meeting, then pop over to the Apple Store and buy a new iPhone 3G. Before I left for the meeting, I typed the address I was headed towards—9 West 57th Street—into Radar, just to see what was in the "1,000 foot view." (In part because I was thinking I might show a live Radar feed in the meeting.)
And what shows up at the very top of my Radar? A link to this story from Racked, talking about the 3-4 hour lines at the Apple Store on 5th Ave, with a photo of yesterday's insane morning line. One look at that page, and my morning plans were changed.
There are bunch of cool things worth noting about this particular use case:
First, given my objectives for the morning, that Racked story was probably the single most relevant piece of information that I could have seen right before I left for midtown. And Radar had it at the top of the feed. Nice!
Second, this is a classic example of the utility of networked journalism. Sure, Racked is not exactly unearthing political corruption here, or exposing dangerous conditions at the mill. But it's providing information that's genuinely useful, that traditional sources don't provide. The Times isn't going to cover the iPhone line ten days after the launch, and while the Apple site updates store availability nightly, it reports nothing about line length. But this is exactly the kind of thing Racked is brilliant at covering. (Nice, Lockhart!)
Third, note that I didn't even have to type a search term into Radar ("iPhone lines") to get this information. My only filter was my exact location. That doesn't always work quite this perfectly, of course, but it shows you the power of the 1,000-ft view as a way of determining relevance without any other hint from the user.
Now if I could somehow program Radar to actually wait in the line for me...