Watch this trend: Service blogs and feeds

I’ve been following some “Service” blogs and RSS feeds of late (my definition for a “service” blog or feed is one that provides some time of factual info, such as movie releases, weather forecast, dvd releases, etc).

Recently, two new sites along these lines launched, and both look to be quite interesting:

* Chicago Crime: Built in part by Adrian Holovaty (one of the people who inspired me to pursue standards-compliant design), Chicago Crime is a thorough and thoroughly usable datbase of crime in Chicago, organized by neighborhood, time of day, and many other factors.

The site has two key features: Outstanding Google Maps integration, and a wide selection of RSS feeds. If I lived there, using this site would probably make me too paranoid to subsribe to- but it would be great to know it’s there if I need it.

* The second new “Service” site is StormTrack, built in part by Jordan Golson of the Cheese and Crackers blog. StormTrack is pretty self-explanatory- using weather data, the site will track and report on various summer-season hurricaines and other weather patterns. Since the site isn’t automated, it’s value will depend on how frequently (and consistently) the authors can keep it updated. Pending updates, it should be a useful tool, whether you live in the south or not.

While Chicago Crime is a combination service/hyperlocal site, it is also one whose readership value should remain fairly constant. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that StormTrack, besides being a service-oriented site, is also capitalizing on the niche element that made many highly-targeted political blogs (like one of my own) highly successful for short bursts, depending on how much and how often their subject matter made the news.

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