Services that provide information based on a user's location are seeing a lot of innovation due to smart phones. Foursquare, Latitude, Gowalla, Yelp are examples of services that allow users to get information about places near them and share their experiences on social networks. Speaking to the media at an event earlier today, Nokia India's Director for Operator Channel, V Ramnath said that they are working on a feature similar to Yelp and Foursquare Explore.
Nokia plans to name the feature 'Search' and it will provide local information at the touch of a button. Ramnath said, “We are planning to introduce the ‘Search’ option that gives out details about a particular locality or anything you want to know. For example, if you want to know a food joint in Nungambakkam (in Chennai), it will give out the details of food joints present nearby.”
Yelp and Foursquare have well-populated databases for America but their catalogues for India are comparatively not as good. Yelp does not have a client for Nokia phones either. Nokia hopes to use information collected as part of their (now re-branded) Ovi Maps to fill in these gaps. Reports suggest Nokia Search will have results for restaurants and malls which wouldn't be sufficient to have me sold to the feature. Yelp, for example has categories like Banks, Drugstores, Doctors etc. Foursquare Explore on the other other hand is limited to Entertainment and food.
Making 'Search' a compelling reason to buy Nokia handsets is going to be a challenge for Nokia.