April 21, 2006

Google local heads downunder

Posted in Articles at 11:42 pm by siddey

It was pleasing to read today that Google may soon rollout a local presence in Australia targeted in direct competition to Sensis. With various companies recently announcing local search services, from the uninspiring customised Google search interface to be provided to customers of listed wireless network operator Unwired, to the much more exciting promise of delivering Google local downunder, things are certainly brewing.

The Australian newspaper reports that Google is serious about moving into the Australian market and is in negotiations with an as yet unnamed local partner to provide localised search services (21/04/06). Hopefully the chosen partner will be able to offer features that are clearly differentiated from the already familiar offerings of Sensis and Ninemsn. Interestingly, News Limited (publishers of "The Australian") also recently released their own offering truelocal.com.au, without any significant fanfare, into what is now already an over-crowded Australian business services search market.

Personally, I can't yet find any compelling reason to use more than one of these services. As much as I hate to say it, unless something mobile comes my way that is generally available and cheap to access, I will prefer to use Sensis' White or Yellow pages from the comfort of my home in the rare event that I need to look up a business phone number. It gives me exactly the same information as any other offering currently on the market plus the added benefit that I actually remember the URLs.

Ninemsn and Truelocal.com.au may all be sources of localised data but they're certainly not yet mobile and nor is their content compelling. If Google is planning to fill these gaps and bring the dimensions of on-demand mobile search with more compelling content than business information, they'll be a clear winner. With Sensis still off in la la land delivering their location based services only to a minimal audience of Telstra network subscribers, Google could very well snatch market share just as a plethora of more sophisticated Wifi and GPS enabled devices are due to be released into the Australian market.

Good luck Google!

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