Late last year, theMapQuest Labs team launched mqVibe, which positioned the neighborhood as the foundational context for local discovery on a national level. By converting MapQuest's 15 years of data including where people are, what they are looking for, and where they are going, theycreated a baseline for a ranking system, which would get further refined in real-time as users voted and interacted with the system.

Given the scale of MapQuest, the team wasable to provide profiles of more than 50,000 neighborhoods, 27,000 cities, and 50,000 hotspots, essentially covering the entire U.S. Each neighborhood page showcases local restaurants, stores and businesses in ranked order by the most popular, which saves you from having to comb through thousands of not-helpful reviews to find the best.

Over the weekend, the teamadded a new batch of functionality to mqVibe including a new contextual search function and local influence and expertise-based algorithms making it more useful for giving you the local expert opinion of where to go and what to do.

As you may have seen, mqVibe is at SXSW showcasing all of these great new functionalities. If you are, too, download the mqVibe iPhone app to find the details on our flash mobs, street-corner giveaways and other cool stuff we're doing in Austin or follow #mqvibe on Twitter! Learn more about the latest mqVibe updates by reading the MapQuest Blog.