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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!

  11. India surpasses the U.S. as the second-largest mobile market « TechJabber.com Monday, May 19, 2008

    [...] lunch today with an Indian outsourced services company (more on THAT later), got back and noticed this new GigaOM (Om Malik) blog. Interesting stuff … well worth a [...]

  12. In India, Location-based Search Kicks Off « Curryzone’s Weblog Monday, May 19, 2008
  13. @Sridhar, no offence but your company don’t even know about symbian signing and still claim to have developed a LBS application? C’mon :). At least make some better excuses or stop claiming. Any serious symbian app company would know that testing is not mandatory. Hv you ever heard of symbian express signed or opensigned. and about that Id, it is called publisher id and not merchant Id – even a basic symbian developer would correctly name it. Are you sure that your company made any app?

    If you have an application, I will send you my IMEI, use opensign to sign you app and send it to me. It is a free service offered by Symbian and takes only 5 minute to sign an app. Ready for it ? or finding another excuse to not share a non-existing application.

    Either way, I am truly amazed at your marketing skills – I am serious :)

  14. @Anurag

    If only marketing skills would have had to carry us here,we would have had done many wonders,
    coming back, yes we have the open sign [using the IMEI] done and about 20 people in blore are test running the app,Yes apologize for taking the merchant ID [correction its the Publisher ID],I am not a symbian developer, but the resources we have figured out a way to get it done on a mode , the link is in here : https://www.symbiansigned.com/app/page

    We shall definitely release this to everyone else, but again i could send you the app, how would you test, since we are only doing for Blore at this moment, if you are in bangalore or any of your friends?, I have no excuse to get a free publicity out in here, its a effort which has resulted, and I am sure you must also get a point, its not a matter of a simple app development, the process would work only if you have the tower location, geotagged contents and many more .If you or anyone in blore would want to give a shot, kindly let me know, it works on all S60 3rd edition devices.

    Initially the whole idea was to get it done as a J2ME app [now i am a Java developer], we did try our luck with JSR 179, only to figure out it does support but along with GPS enabled, with lot of efforts through community, forums, we couldn’t’ get it done as a J2ME app, which would have had been the ideal way.

    However through the method of CBS we were able to establish the same with native Ericsson phones and we have a J2ME app working for it.

    The strategy behind not getting it on a public release yet also goes with few over ridng regulations, when you have a app which is Device independent,Operator independent and content rich, it makes sense to go slow.

    Hope i have clarified !

  15. @Sridhar, stop fooling around media and readers. Your 2 & 3rd screenshots are from Nokia browser. It’s not your app dude. And about your first screenshot, you do not even have a proper icon. You guys are using the one provided by symbian hello world app – whom do you think you’re fooling about your non-existent technology and sample symbian app

    You have a new excuse now – device independent -bull***. Stick to your words – you first gave an excuse of symbian signing along with your half cooked information (not only here, but on other blog too early this month). Will you tell us the real reason that you do not have any technology or app. If you have, let me test it. My device is N95 and I visit Bangalore once a week

    Stop making further excuses – tell us whether we can test your app today? I know what your answer to this question will be but let me give you a chance to prove me wrong :)

    Sorry about the harsh words but no one here is fool enough to believe you. I have a few more points about your reverse engineering claims but I will be waiting for your reply first

  16. @Sridhar – Anurag have valid points. Why are you so hesitant to release your application.

  17. I guess you seem to be overdriven with technology.

    We use SYmbian feature to retrieve the CELl ID whihc is apssed as query string to pop up on a native browser.

    I guess you got to test our app to conclude anything else, kindly mail me your IMEI number, and also let me know your availability in blore i shall send you the app, after which you could comment!

  18. At last, yulop admits that those screenshot are not from their app but from native browser.

    So now we know how yulop’s app was built.

    Get the sample codes from nokia (and claim that they reversed it)

    wiki.forum.nokia.com/index.php/Find_Out_Cell_ID_in_3rd_Edition
    wiki.forum.nokia.com/index.php/How_to_Launch_Browser_in_3rd_edition

    Integrate two sample codes.
    take screenshots
    claim to be from their own great app
    and send it to media to get ‘free’ publicity 
    Good job so far!!!

  19. I left, where shall I email my IMEI and get app (if it exist :) )

  20. Anoop Shastry Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    I must admit, after watching this post, i called up sridhar, since locating him in bengaluru was easier and i was very interested myself to see the LBS for my own city.

    Disclaimer : I work with a top MNC on building LBS kind of stuff for European market.

    After Reading Anurag comment : i was apprehensive with sridhar’s team pulling it off, but let me accept its truly remarkable with such a feat, ironically i met sridhar today and he did gave me a solid demo in central bangalore and its a symbian program which retrieves the cell ID from the app and sends the request to there server in response its loaded on to a browser, and its been the job well done.

    Its easy to criticise , but sridhar did explain me the effort and how it enables users to get what they need at there current location.

    I strongly recommend anyone in bangalore to give a call to sridhar and try out the Application yourself, lets not worry more about the technical angle here, its the effort and the streaming of focussed engineering which matters all to give the end customer what they need.

    I believe they are building similar prototype for Android and iPhone apps, which have a native features to get the location, but what its remarkable is the content these guys processes that’s something truly to be appreciated, they have it for local contents, News, Events, movies,bus routes everything is been geotagged.

    Sridhar did mail me to put in my views after he got Anurag comments in this post, I am not here to support sridhar and team but there efforts needs to be recognized

    technology shouldn’t be a bottleneck for building apps, if you could build what consumers need, then Job Well Done!

  21. Dont’ you think you are jumping guns, anyways…!

    you can mail me the IMEI number to support@yulop.com and also let me know your availability in bangalore,
    I guess it would be great to meet you as well, I love demoing it to all techie brains!

  22. Hi anurag,

    Probably you can shoot all your questions/ doubts at me since i was the person involved in the development of this symbian app.

    This is a 20kb symbian application developed in Native symbian c++.
    And regrading the existence of the application, its very much alive just need to marry it to your IMEI :)

    Please send across your IMEI [Nokia S60 3rd Edition phone] so that we can send the signed app. since we are still testing the app we havnt signed using the Publisher ID we have used the opensigned option. Symbian Signing stuff is out of scope to discuss here.

    May be we could talk/discuss about the application once u install and play around with our app.

    regards,
    vini

  23. @Anoop, within 27 minutes of my comments, you could meet Sridhar, see his demo and posted a comment. All on a busy working day :) well done! If yulop can give you a private demo, what stopping them from releasing to public. Sounds shady – I am serious :)

    @Sridhar, Vini, I sent my IMEI few hours back and my mail was replied by Sridhar but no app is so far received. Opensign takes 5 minutes.

  24. this topic seems to be the hot discussion,i think you shouldn’t talk more, what i see people are here only to make you spill the bean and if you guys have the product you have shown it to people concerned, why would you worry about someones comments and demanding you.

    I have heard about Yulop through Proto.in and its peers, now to be profiled from people like OM is a bigger asset, now take this forward and i am proud of ya guys, you have something to give out from India, way to go.

    Om i am very happy you do support Indian products and have been helping all these small companies get noticed, carry on good work mate!

  25. India and lbs,its great to hear…india has 260 million mobile users,i guess all this make sense if gprs penetration happens,and from whatever i hear,its going to boom in 2009.smaller companies definitely challenge the bigger ones with there local contents

  26. @ Anurag, Good POints out here.. But I have to agree that you may be speaking without actually seeing the facts.. Why dont you try out the application and then post your review..

    As far as i can see, Its the easiest way to build an App.. Use the Hello World and modd it to your requirement, especially when you dont know the language.. But I’m pretty sure this was not the approach taken..

  27. I still have not received any app from yulop.

    @Sridhar, take my advice, you can be more productive by coding real app than to post fake comment by name of ‘Anoop Shastry’. Beware, you’re spoiling name of Indian startups on global space by your lies.

  28. Anurag, you said it right. Global media sparingly covers indian companies. These kind of incidents will make them looked at even genuine Indian companies with suspecting eyes. You might know that Yulop chickened out of mobile monday demo in bangalore

  29. Never thought we would make inroads as such, well i had to cancel MoMO due to personal reasons, but i guess i would have to prove my point also, i spoke to Rajiv from MoMO i am around in MoMO and probably time permits could give demo, since the slot is filed up, but again i would be there for complete session, and whoever is interested i shall give them the demo in person.

    and Anurag, i have mailed the App for your IMEI number, pls give a try!

    Bala , see you there tomorrow in MoMo

  30. @sridhar, looking forward to see you tomorrow (or i think its already today :)). hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze in your demo.

  31. Check out Sridhar’s PPT. He also showed live demo on his mobile. It works!

    http://bangalore.mobilemonday.in/2008/05/27/may-event-materials/

  32. yulop people « startupcentral Friday, May 30, 2008

    [...] launch of its location-based services or local search on mobile. For more, read the Mint report and GigaOm’s take. I had a chat with co-founder Sridhar G about their new offering a few days before the launch [...]

  33. Yulop People | Startupcentral Tuesday, March 3, 2009

    [...] launch of its location-based services or local search on mobile. For more, read the Mint report and GigaOm’s take. I had a chat with co-founder Sridhar G about their new offering a few days before the launch [...]

  34. OnMobile buys Telisma | Okko in Speech Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    [...] made it a tough one to crack for speech technology companies, though a lucrative one as India has recently surpassed the U.S. as the second largest mobile market in the world, according to Om Malik at GigaOm.I [...]

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