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Summary:

Earlier this month, India surpassed the U.S. as the second-largest mobile market (by subscriber count) in the world. With close to 280 million subscribers, it now has enough of a user base to become a breeding ground for a new class of applications that take into […]

Earlier this month, India surpassed the U.S. as the second-largest mobile market (by subscriber count) in the world. With close to 280 million subscribers, it now has enough of a user base to become a breeding ground for a new class of applications that take into account local realities such as a lack of high -peed networks, cheap phones and a reliance on SMS.

Take Yulop, a Bangalore, India-based location-based startup. Instead of waiting around for GPS data, the tiny company is launching its location-based search service, which uses triangulation technologies and offers consumers listings of find businesses (shops, restaurants and) based on geo-tagged data from its database. Yulop plans to offer service in six cities in addition to its current market of Bangalore.

By offering its downloadable app, Yulop seems to have beat a lot of its big competitors to the punch in what will be a very competitive market. Google, Microsoft and Nokia are chasing the same opportunity. Whether Yulop makes it to the big time remains to be seen, but its approach makes a lot of sense.

While in the Western economies, the easy availability of mapping and local data makes its easier for companies to think about building LBS apps; Yulop is taking a more pragmatic approach: Triangulation is the only option in this market. Similarly, having a properly tagged information database helps the tiny company offer up more accurate results in the local market. I think we will see more of this trend, where local companies adapt some of the “overseas” concepts to meet the needs of Indian wireless subscribers.

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  1. Local search is not new in Bangalore. I had read very good post on local search engines (almost all Bangalore based) over here http://brants.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/going-glocal/

  2. Local search is not new in Bangalore. I had read very good post on local search engines (almost all Bangalore based) over here http://brants.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/going-glocal/

  3. Om

    There are several such services available in India, not only in B’lore but also in Delhi and ither metros. In Delhi, I know a mobile service that lets you find eating joints and watering holes, while another one lets you find movies playing on various cineplexes. What these services lack is advertising and most of them eventually end up being used by a small group of people. This is where the biggies score.

    BTW, Google had recently issued a notification asking people from India to list their businesses for Google’s local search.

  4. India-based Yulop Builds Location-Based Mobile Search Service Sunday, May 18, 2008

    [...] by Om Malik of GigaOM, and previously by K. Raghu and Vishwanath Kulkarni of LiveMint.com, the Indian company is making [...]

  5. @ Rajat @Balu,

    I will add your recommendations to the post as well. thanks.

  6. Harshil Karia Monday, May 19, 2008

    Hey Om,

    I wrote about Yulop’s location based services a while back – you can check it out here – http://www.watblog.com/2008/05/09/a-look-at-yulops-city-events-an-online-events-platform-a-few-insights-into-how-it-can-be-coupled-with-lbs-2/

    It has some interesting material about how Sridhar from Yulop used simpe symbian C++ to reverse engineer cell id’s (something that costs thousands of dollars – as quoted by cell phone companies) – so basically these cell ID’s enable yulop to provide the poor man’s GPS.

    The post also has some interesting stuff on the strategies followed by local search engines in India – a horizontal vs vertical strategy.

    Do check it out if you can and let me know what you think.

    We follow you constantly – you guys do a great job!

  7. every local search product in india offers this..every listing (from the data companies) in india is geotagged, so not sure wht does this “lbs” launch means.
    I looked at yulop – they dont seem to have great data, so how does lbs matters to them?

  8. Really? Have you seen their prototype?

    How to get your company in OM? make a good press release. No working prototype needed.

    yulop, care to prove me wrong?

  9. I think there’s this company called Wayfinder, which is sort of a pioneer in such mobile software…

  10. Om,

    Thanks for the coverage, it was great indeed!

    @Anurag, @raju

    We do have a working model ready, if you are aware we have Symbian App and it would require a Merchant Id with some not so useful testing from the Symbian partners, so we are waiting at this point yet

    I would release the video sometime this week, in mean time if you are in blore, let me know i shall help you install this on your phone and you could see the demo by yourself.

    If every local search is doing the Geo tagged? that’s more of a bit surprise, thanks for the update!

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