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Amazon goes local with new iOS app

Amazon already has an extensive suite of iOS apps, everything from the Kindle Reader to the Price Check app that lets you compare local prices to Amazon online prices. That app doesn't make local businesses too happy, but a new app from Amazon should have the opposite effect.

Amazon Local, a free app released over the weekend gets your current location either from GPS or manually, then shows you deals in your area. Depending on where you live, you may see many deals or none at all if you're not near a suitably sized urban area. Here in Southern Arizona, I saw two deals today -- a discount at a local hotel and 75 percent off at a beauty salon. Neither was useful to me, but hopefully that will improve with time.

When I switched my location to larger cities like Phoenix or Denver, the deals started rolling in. You can tell the app what kinds of deals you are interested in, including types of restaurants, sports events, concerts or what you shop for. I wish the choices were a bit more granular, I'd like to ask for particular types of movies, for example, but the feature mostly gets the job done. You can ask for alerts to deals, but I'd prefer not to have the interruptions, so I'll just look at the app when the spirits move me.

If you find a deal you like, you can get driving directions to the location, or call the merchant directly from the app. You can also share deals via email, Facebook, Twitter and SMS.

Amazon Local is a useful app, but could get a little smarter about the kind of things that you like.

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