Yellowpages.com today announced the release of a mobile local search site specifically designed to work on the iPhone and iPod Touch. This will be a mobile web based local search site accessible from the devices’ Safari web browser, and will include Yellowpages.com local listings, reviews and maps.
This speed to market will help it gain early traction and user loyalty which could prove invaluable in the soon to be crowded mobile local search product environment. This will start to happen in early ’08 when Apple releases its software development kit to third party mobile application developers.
When this happens, expect a full fledged YellowPages.com downloadable application that users can plant directly on the device’s home screen. AT&T owned Yellowpages.com could also utilize its parent company’s relationship with Apple to push such a local search application (although this would compete with the Google Maps application that is already built into the iPhone’s home screen).
The beauty of directory and mobile local search products on the iPhone is that any number that shows up in Safari, the SMS module, or in Google Maps is hyperlinked so if you tap on it, the phone starts dialing. This built in click-to-call functionality will be a nice foundation on which to build lots of compelling and user friendly mobile local apps for the device (and the copycat devices that will invariably flood the mobile device market).
Overall, this is a smart move for Yellowpages.com, and its mobile product development could continue to accelerate as mobile search usage increases and mobile advertising revenues follow the growth curve outlined in TKG’s U.S. Mobile Advertising Forecast. As this happens Yellowpages.com will likely add mobile to its growing cross platform sales bundle.
I plan to talk to the company to find out more about this opportunity, and also check out the site to see how it “plays” on the iPhone. It’s design sensitivities, built specifically for the iPhone interface suggest that it could have a user friendly look and feel. But I’ll give it a good field test to be sure. Stay tuned.