The local search space came into focus in India way back in 2006 with the funding of guruji.com and then there were a flurry of players that ventured into this space right from onyomo, asklaila, yulop, burrp and a few others.
The year 2008 started with Asklaila launching its local search services in mumbai and guruji going vernacular with its local listings. After the regional foray guruji added mobile capability and also added gujrati as a language which made us question whether going regional would be guruji’s usp?
As the year progressed the International players got into the game with Yahoo launching its own local search for India. Google had already launched local search in August 2007. Following guruji’s footsteps even Asklaila launched a mobile version a couple of months later. A month later even Yulop followed the trend and launched a wap version of their local search. By mid of the year local search players realised the importance of having the BIG G in the good books and a tie up followed between Metromela and Google local search.
With the new players ramping up cities in the local search space certain old players who were in classifieds like sulekha woke up to the possibilities of better organising and expanding in the local search space and they announced expansion in multiple cities and revamped and reorganised their interface. Following the trend even Indiatimes followed suit with launch of mobile search and sms local search although in partnership with onyomo. This wasn’t the only partnership onyomo lapped up in the mobile space as by year ending it also had Rcom in the kitty for local search on reliance mobiles. Looking at this strategy by onyomo asklaila followed suit by tying up with Airtel.
The year ended with guruji launching an interesting finance vertical which was more portal and less search a hint at guruji’s expansion beyond being a local search play.
All in all the local search space saw a shift from online to mobile with either wap launches or mobile tie ups by players. What was also worth noting was the focus on regional content. One has to also point out the vertical nature of some of the local search players like burrp which has been doing a great job in the lifestyle local search space as of now with the launch of their new year calendar in print as well.