Mobile local search: InfoSpace launches free application for Blackberry devices

Mobile local search: InfoSpace launches free application for Blackberry devices
At the CTIA Wireless Trade Show InfoSpace Inc. announced the launch of InfoSpace Find It! for a large selection of BlackBerry® smartphones in North America. Starting today, Blackberry owners can download and use the GPS-enabled InfoSpace Find It! for free. InfoSpace Find It! distills millions of listings into six categories tailored to the on-the-go user – Dine Out, Go Out, Shop, Travel, Health, and Services.

The application offers a single search location for Yellow Pages, White Pages, Maps, Directions, Movie Listings and more. Search results can be saved to the Blackberry address book or called with one click. Find It! also allows to enter a phone number to find out to whom it belongs.

This service, already available on some other mobile phones, used to be billed 2.99$/month, but Infospace is now giving it for free. Interviewed by GPS Business News, Joe Herzog, Senior Director, Local Search Products for InfoSpace said: “we don’t need anymore to sell it for a fee, the advertising revenue coming from clicks and calls are enough to create a sustainable business model for our carriers partners and ourselves”.

So far the application does not provide a full turn by turn navigation experience, but spoken directions which have to be activated turn after turn by the user in clicking on a phone key. Of course, “the obvious extension is navigation” said Joe Herzog, but “right now our focus is to make it available for free and provide the best possible user experience”.

The frontier between free mobile search - provided by Google, Yahoo, Infospace and others – and paid for off-board navigation is definitely blurring; the last remaining difference is the real time, GPS-enabled turn by turn guidance. The question is now to evaluate the consumer’s perception of its price. Searching in the location based services category on Sprint’s website you will find Telenav 3D navigation application and Infospace Find It side by side: one is free, the other is $9.99 a month, for how much time?

Friday, March 30th 2007

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